Team-based learning or project-based learning with a semester long group work component are successful learning strategies to keep students motivated, engage them in authentic learning activities, and prepare them to work in diverse multidisciplinary teams in the workplace.
For this approach to be fruitful, instructors design a semester long sequence of learning activities culminating in a final project. The experience is enriching when the diversity of the classroom is reflected in the teams rather than when students create their own teams based on familiarity.
Although this sounds promising, instructors may face challenges. . It is time consuming to gather demographic information from students and create teams that offer the best combination of participants to take advantage of the diversity. It can be difficult to judge team performance and intervene when needed. Moreover, many instructors find it unfair to assign the same group grade to all individuals when it is not clear how much each member contributed to the team work.
We stumbled on CATME SMARTER Teamwork, a set of web-based tools designed to support group work based teaching and found two tools to be especially useful The team-maker tool in CATME allows instructors to gather information from their students and automatically assigns students to appropriate teams based on the criteria instructors provide. The peer evaluation tool allows students to evaluate their teammates’ contributions as well as their own. When rating patterns of various team members do not correspond with each other, the tool flags this activity The instructor then may intervene and work with the team to help them manage perceptions and expectations. The peer evaluation tool provides instructors with a way to assign individual grades.
Note: CATME is not integrated with Canvas.