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.   Read more »

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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. Read more »

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