Splitting Group Assignments for Individual Accountability

Cheryl Druehl, Ioannis Bellos

Session Information

Year: 2018 | Time: 1:50pm-2:30pm | Location: TEACHING ACTIVITY SHOWCASE 2:10-2:25: Johnson Center (Room G)

Abstract

NOTE: This teaching activity showcase is one of two during the 1:00pm-2:30pm session.  It will be presented within that session from 1:50pm to 2:30pm.

BRIEF SESSION DESCRIPTION:

Group work is often divided into pieces, with each student doing the part with which they are most comfortable. Doing so, however, may limit the depth to which students learn new information and their willingness to take up on new challenges. To help overcome this issue, we tried splitting a traditional group activity into two parts. We describe a case, the two assignment parts, and how it impacted the course and student engagement. This approach may also be useful for hybrid or flipped courses. Participants will be able to reflect on their own assignments, particularly group ones, and look for opportunities to develop multi-part assignments to better engage students and to foster reflection or further analysis. 

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FULL ABSTRACT:

Group work is often divided into pieces, with each student doing the portion with which they are already familiar or most comfortable. Doing so, however, may limit the depth to which students learn new information and their willingness to take on new challenges. To help overcome this issue, we tried splitting a traditional group activity into two parts. The MBA program uses cases to illustrate concepts in practice and allows students to place themselves in the role of a manager needing to make a decision. The decision often requires both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Historically, cases have been assigned as a single group assignment, with students given a set of guiding questions. We have instead split the assignment into two parts. The first part is individual and asks each student to do and turn in the quantitative analysis. We then discuss that analysis and the decision maker’s options in class. The students then do the second part in their groups. They are asked to review the quantitative analysis and discuss the decision maker’s options with their groups. Then the group writes an executive summary with their recommendation for a decision/course of action and must defend it with both quantitative and qualitative analysis. We will describe a case, the two assignment parts, and how it impacted the course and student engagement.

Keywords

team-based learning; active learning classrooms

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