Wake your students!

How many of us have suffered through classes that follow this pattern?

Go to class, listen to lecture, stare at PowerPoint slides  –  go home and (sort-of) read the book  –  return to class and take multiple-choice test  –  repeat until the end of the semester.

And more importantly, how many of us are still teaching this way?!

One of the most challenging tasks for an educator is to create classroom exercises that mirror the big, bad, scary real-world, which also engage students in the learning process. Enter… the group project! Through our interactions with faculty here in the CTL, we’ve learned that group projects are actually quite challenging to administer and monitor. How do you, as the instructor, ensure that each student’s group learning experience is meaningful?

We’ve gathered some great resources from the web that offer insight, tips and strategies to help you execute this teaching method effectively!

  1. Collaborative Learning: Group Work and Study Teams.” Did you know there are different types of group learning, and which you use will depend upon your assignment and its goals? Have you ever thought of group project contracts? How large is too large for a group? Get answers to these questions and a lot more in this very informative article out of UC Berkley.
  2. Manage Groups and Teams (Social Loafing).” Do you have issues with social loafers appearing in your assigned groups? What IS a social loafer, exactly, and how do snap those students out of it? Check out this interesting article WikiBooks that covers a phenomenon we’ve all experienced when working in groups.
  3. Teaching Students to Work Well in Groups.” Find direct solutions to four of the most common issues that can occur in groups, from this article in the Observer.
  4. Tips for Successful Group World.” Quick tips and ideas for administering group projects can be found in this article from the University of Toledo.

And don’t forget about Google Docs! With their spreadsheet, document and presentation tools, students can create project documents and presentations in real-time over the web, and chat live while editing, all without having to worry about emailing files back and forth. And it’s free!

To view past blog posts and comments on the subject of group projects, click here and here!

Did you pick up any good tips from the resources mentioned, or do you have some ideas of your own? If so, chime-in below with your comments!

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