Contact - UOIT's Teaching and Learning Newsletter

Contact - Volume 3, Issue 3

March 2007 - Group Work

Do your students rebel when they hear the words "group work"? Looking for some strategies and solutions? The following issue looks at how to manage and assess group work and assignments. We have included a podcast as well as linked resources that further explore this topic.

Podcast - Group Work in Higher Education

David Jaques
, FSEDA, ILTM, MPhil, Ac. Dip. Ed. has worked in higher education for 36 years, first as an Engineering Lecturer, then in Organisational and Interpersonal Communication, and finally as Head of the Educational Methods Unit at Oxford Brookes University, where he was responsible for improving the quality of teaching and learning.

Interviewers: Bill Muirhead, Associate Provost Teaching and Learning, and Maureen Wideman, Sr. Instructional Designer

Play it / hear it - MP3 file - 1.9 MB

Group Work
Produced by the Higher Education Academy

This publication reviews group work, student roles, group dynamics, problems and provides a case study that applies collaborative learning theories to the group learning experience..

Assessing Group Work

By Richard James, Craig McInnis and Marcia Devlin
Centre for the Study of Higher Education

This article is concerned with the problems and issues surrounding group work, assessing group work and the design of group activities. When effective group management processes are employed, clear assessment guidelines developed and communicated as well as valid and fair grading processes employed, the likelihood of positive learning outcomes is enhanced. It is also reported that this approach significantly increases student satisfaction with group activities.

Facilitating Dysfunctional Teams

This four-page newsletter provides tips and suggestions for faculty members in the sciences and engineering for working through problems associated with dysfunctional student teams.

Other Resources:

Accounting For Individual Effort in Cooperative Learning Teams
Deborah B. Kaufman and Richard M. Felder
Department of Chemical Engineering
North Carolina State University

The authors provide results of their research into "autorating" two second-year chemical engineering courses. Autorating is defined as a peer rating system designed to account for individual performance. They found that the system works exceptionally well as a rule, and the benefits it provides more than compensate for the relatively infrequent problems that may occur in its use.

Learning in Groups: A Handbook for Face-To-Face and Online Environments (4th Edition)
by David Jaques, Gilly Salmon
Available to purchase from

Contact is the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's monthly e-newsletter bringing you the latest information on teaching and learning. Contact podcasts are also available for subscription free from the iTunes Music Store - just search on UOIT.

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Contact is produced by the Office of the Associate Provost, Teaching and Learning, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.