There are many ways to include group work in a given course. Variations of projects can be done in order for students to collaborate and create what we hope to be a masterpiece that could not be achieved when only assigned individually. In the June/July 2013 issue of The Teaching Professor there is an article titled “Improving Group Projects." As the title states, this article has suggestions that will help improve the effectiveness of group projects.
The suggestions given are:
- Emphasize the importance of team-work
- Teach teamwork skills
- Use team-building exercises to build cohesive groups
- Thoughtfully consider group formation
- Make the workload reasonable and the goals clear
- Consider roles for group members
- Provide some class time for meetings
- Request interim reports and group process feedback
- Require individual members to keep track of their contributions
- Include peer assessment in the evaluation process
When the items suggested are incorporated to the assignment for the students, the project becomes more valuable and important to them. They are able to more fully understand the importance of teamwork and the group project that has been given to them. This also teaches more responsibility as well as the practical application to how teams interact in the workforce. In the end, this kind of group work teaches the skills to succeed in further group work whether in another class or at a job.