Group Work

Photo of professor Robin FowlerHere is a short video on this teaching strategy.

Robin Fowler, College of Engineering, co-teaches Introduction to Engineering, a course in which student teams design, build, and test products for professional scenarios (e.g., Company X needs a remote-operated vehicle to investigate subglacial life at the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica). Teams need to apply course concepts to evaluate competing designs relative to client-generated objectives and constraints. However, teams often pursue suboptimal designs due to poor group process.

To enable more equitable and conceptually sound design decisions, Fowler shifted team meetings from face-to-face discussions to synchronous, text-based online discussions, during which team members are geographically dispersed. Fowler creates a Google Doc for each team, including each student’s individual project idea and a decision-making matrix to be completed as a team. Students simultaneously access these materials and negotiate decisions at preordained times using the commenting and chat features in Google Docs. Read more »

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This page provides a wide range of resources on Resources on Cooperative Learning, Group Work, and Teamwork including websites, articles, and bibliographies.  


Table of Contents

General Information on Cooperative Learning

Effectiveness of CLGT
Best Practices
     Concepts Principles and Techniques
     Forming Groups
     Group Dynamics
     Grading Issues
     Use of Small Groups in Large Classes
Multicultural Issues
Bibliographies, Meta-Analyses and Web Resources
Advice for Students Working in Teams

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Cooperative learning involves having students work together to maximize their own and one another’s learning (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 1991). This page provides resources about cooperative learning, designing effective small group activities, and guidance for creating and sustaining effective student learning groups in engineering and lab courses.


CRLT Occasional Paper on Using Teams
This summary of the research covers topics such as designing effective team assignments, forming teams, and assessing student teams. The paper includes numerous examples from U-M faculty. While it is focused on STEM classrooms, the practical advice it contains is relevant to any instructor considering the use of groups or teams

CRLT Bibliography on Cooperative Learning, Group Work, and Teamwork
A comprehensive list of resources on the effectiveness of cooperative learning, group work, teamwork, and best practices. Many of the articles are available to U-M faculty and GSI Read more »

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