Monday, 1 December 2014

Group working

How do we best encourage our students to work together in informal groups in the classroom or in more formal teams when they have to work together to complete a summative assessment task?

I was involved in 2 sessions last week which aimed to help us think about this.
Firstly, the Student Experience Think Tank was discussing how the whole University  could encourage students to be inclusive and effective in  group working activity right from them picking up a prospectus to having an interview with an employer.  
The second session attracted a range of academic staff from across the University- some new, some experienced and all keen to share what works and what doesn't. We talked about encouraging attendance, using team role "tools" effectively, strategies to stop "freeloading" students (who create worry and irritation in their fellow group members) proactively managing group work to be  successful and meaningful experience for participants, using Hangout to help students at a distance and the need for tutors to establish processes for conflict management.
We then shared good examples of fair marking and peer assessment. 
There was much good work across the University  and a real commitment to encourage students to work in groups and teams because this is an  authentic experience of life in the workplace post- graduation.

Sue Smith
Centre for Learning and Teaching