Technology Enhanced Group Work - Pedagogy

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Facilitating Group Work | Assessing Group Work

As part of the award process, Engage staff and mentors researched methods of good practice in facilitating group work. This research was shared by staff and mentors with instructors through community events, the Engage website, and consultations with Engage staff. Coupled with the introduction of collaborative technologies, many instructors implemented new facilitation techniques and assessment strategies in their group projects. Therefore, we included items on the surveys to obtain feedback on the role of facilitation and assessment in making group projects a success.

Facilitating Group Work

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  • In congruence with the literature, students who knew how the group project related to course objectives were significantly more likely than their peers to report they learn more effectively in groups (Fig. 10), and see value in group assignments (Fig. 11). The same students were less likely than their peers to rate the group project as worse than past group projects (Fig. 12).
  • Instructors reported, providing guidance/training on how to work in groups, implementing an individual grade component, providing clear objectives for group work, and using a collaborative technology as the top 4 transformations to the way they facilitated this group project. (Fig.13)

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  • Similarly, students who were given guidance on how to work in groups were more likely than their peers to report they learn more effectively in groups (Fig. 14). This same group of students was less likely than their peers to rate the group project as worse than past group projects (Fig. 15).
  • Students indicated more satisfaction with the group project when they were spending more time per week working on it individually or with their group (Fig. 16). This finding aligns with the literature which suggests student satisfaction with group work is related to the difficulty of the task (Appendix 6).
  • Students were asked what was done in the course to make the group project more successful or enjoyable. The top 4 student responses were: frequent instructor availability, clear guidelines and expectations, flexibility in choosing a topic and/or work strategy, and time in class to work on the project. (Fig. 17)
  • Similarly, when students were asked what was missing from the project that would have been helpful, the top response was more guidance/regular check-ins. (Fig. 18)

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Assessing Group Work

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  • Student agreement that evaluations of each other by group members should be calculated into final grades increased significantly from pre- to post-survey, with respective means 4.88 and 5.04, indicating students want the opportunity to provide feedback on their group members. (Fig. 19)
  • Students and instructors agreed on the post-surveys, students appreciated the opportunity to evaluate their group member’s contributions to the group project, with respective means 5.63 and 5.43. (Fig. 20)
  • Students and instructors reported, students felt free to provide honest feedback, with respective means 5.72 and 5.23. (Fig. 21)
  • However, students and instructors were uncertain if individual contributions to the group project increased as a result of the peer evaluations, with respective means 4.34 and 4.53. (Fig.22)
  • Likewise, student agreement that project grades should be a combination of the quality of the final product and individual contribution to the group project (each group member may receive a different grade) increased significantly from pre- to post- survey, with respective means 5.49 and 5.63. (Fig. 23)

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