Category: Team Projects

Infographics as Team Projects – repost

I posted on this before but I still think it is an idea which could be useful.  Creating the infographic employs research skills around a topic, design skills for appropriately displaying the information, and communication skills to know what information will have the greatest impact.

Check out the original post: http://blogs.belhaven.edu/asfaculty/2014/12/03/infographics-as-team-projects/ 

There are some examples below.

Creating a Team Project Covenant

This is a repost with updated links

Many of the courses in the Adult Studies Programs for Belhaven University include a Team Project.  The inclusion of the Team Project is valuable on many fronts:  It provides the opportunity to learn to work together, maximizes group resources, allows for synergistic achievement, just to mention a few.  It is also one of the most frustrating experiences for many students who complain about “freeloaders” who don’t do the work and either drag everyone’s grade down or force others to carry the extra load, often without the Instructor noticing or seeming to care.

The best solution to this and one which falls in line with our goals and mission is the Team Project Charter.  Unfortunately, it is often ignored because it takes time to work out and many Instructors and even team members fail to see the value, wanting to jump straight into the project.  This is almost always a mistake leading inevitably to the complaints mentioned above.

The Team Project Covenant is important because it outlines the basic expectations and is signed by each member of the team.  The basic parts include:

  • Group goals and/or purpose.
  • Planned meeting time, place, and agenda.
  • Clearly understood attendance requirements and penalties for absences.
  • Discussion of responsibilities of members within teams.
  • Discussion plan for meetings.
  • Conflict management and resolution, penalties for constitutional covenant breaches, and plan for constitutional covenant changes.

When these items are spelled out it is much easier to pull the document back out at the beginning of a Team meeting and address any problems and the potential penalties for covenant breaches.  It empowers teams to function smoothly and to stay focused, while avoiding freeloading.

There is an example of the Team Project Covenant on Blazenet under Student Live/Services – you can find it HERE  (you must have a Belhaven login to access this document).

If you haven’t wanted to take time for this in the past, I strongly encourage you to make time going forward.  It will provide a better experience for the students, less frustration and grousing for you to deal with, and, more importantly, allows students to see how to deal with situations if a positive format that they can use in the future.

Here is another article which also describes the importance of the Team Project Charter:  Creating an Effective Team Charter

Team Projects – Student Actions

I posted the material below to the Adult Learner Blog but I thought you would like to see it as well. If you use this process you can hopefully cut down on the problems which arise from team projects.  Note the italicized comments which were not included in the post the Adult Learner Blog. 

Team Projects are often the most dreaded part of a course. While not all our courses include a Team Project, there are still several which do. So, the question is, “What can I do, personally, to make the team experience a positive one (and also get a good grade)?”  I’m glad you asked. Here are several ideas for improving the outcome of your team project:

  1. Make sure you complete the Team Covenant the first meeting of your team. This can be found on Blazenet under StudentLife/Services in the Documents. While completing this may take a few minutes, the value comes in having everyone on the same page – especially when it seems like some in the group are dropping the ball. Calling out those who aren’t complying with the Covenant expectations may be necessary, but it is much easier if the Covenant exists. If you make time for this in the first or second class session it can help the whole group succeed.
  2. Make sure everyone has a copy of the Team Evaluation rubric. This can be found in the same place on Blazenet. The important thing here is to make clear to everyone up front that you are going to be brutally honest in completing this form at the end of the project. Help the students understand that you are going to pay attention to these evaluations.
  3. Do your best to stay engaged in the Project, completing the expectations assigned to you. Don’t hesitate to check in with other team members on their progress.
  4. I HIGHLY recommend you use either a Google Doc and/or Google Slides for your project and include the Instructor.  Both of these are free, and it can easily be determined who contributed and how much they contributed.  The team leader should start the Document/Slides and then share it with the rest of the team members.  That way you can all work from different locations at the same time on the same presentation or document. Both also have chat capabilities built in so you can “talk” in real time about the project.
  5. You may not have tried it before, but Canvas has a Zoom link on the left panel which can be used for video conferencing and screen sharing. This means you don’t have to set up another time to get together, you can video conference. This is a simple product and it works great – you can also record the session to further prove who participated and who didn’t. Just identify who will be setting up the meetings.

Team projects, when done effectively, can enhance your knowledge and skills. If you incorporate group software like I describe above it can also make you more valuable at work.

Webinars to Inform and Improve

Greetings,

We are working on a re-design for the Faculty Resources tab of our site and in the process the webinars, which have been listed there, have all been moved to YouTube for easier access.  As I was compiling these links I reviewed some of the webinars and was reminded of the wealth of information these contain.  I’m posting that information below and encourage you to look over the list and review a couple yourself – I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Don’t forget to register for the upcoming Webinar of the Faculty’s Role in Student Retention – see the calendar link on this page to register.

APA and Grading Writing Across the Curriculum. Presenter: Dr. Everett Wade https://youtu.be/HFeLIpg2lUk

Bring Life to Your Classroom. Presenter: Dr. Ed Garrett https://youtu.be/urKi7DGVGQM

Christian Worldview: Practical Applications for the Classroom. Presenter: Dr. Paul Criss https://youtu.be/jFm9nNoFoXc

Effective Use of Library Resources. Presenter: Dr. Kim Priesmeyer https://youtu.be/CxpBGF8AHAs

Introducing Critical Thinking into the Classroom. Presenter: Rosemary Foncree https://youtu.be/HotogEC0PEc

Plagiarism: Helping Your Students Avoid It. Presenter: Dr. Kim Priesmeyer https://youtu.be/jFmhBggVdzw

Student Engagement Strategy: Experimentation. Presenter: Dr. Thomas Randolph https://youtu.be/vvOAQl2Q_48

Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to Foster Critical Thinking. Presenters: Dr. Jerald Meadows & Elizabeth Juneau https://youtu.be/Qdt7Mu5sGno

Using Canvas to Facilitate Team Projects. Presenter: Dr. Rick Upchurch https://youtu.be/RWuMnPtAvZA

Millennials in the Classroom. Presenter: Emma Morris https://youtu.be/0kgNsVN3SDs

Canvas Updates 2017. Presenter: Joe Villarreal https://youtu.be/0wWkVfKNNbA

Andragogy: Adult Learning Theory Applied. Presenter: Dr. Rick Upchurch https://youtu.be/KnDc3zfpvrs

Accessing Case Studies from Belhaven Library. Presenter: Charles Gaudin https://youtu.be/3k_X6RQ5jvM

Team Projects – I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

Many of our courses still include a team project and final presentation as part of the course requirements.  The inclusion of this assignment is not always well received, with the reasons given including uneven workloads and team members who won’t or can’t pull their weight.  I’ve written before about the team charter and if you click on the Team Projects under the Categories in the right navigation bar you’ll find other resources which can improve your team project experiences for your students.

What I want to describe in this post is a strategic perspective related to Team Projects which up to now I’ve assumed.  That is to say, because of my experiences, I have assumed that any team approaching a project assignment would employ the strategy I will share below.  After reflection, I believe that is probably a false assumption.  Perhaps you too have made the same assumption and so I encourage you to work through the steps below with your project teams on the night you make the assignment after the team charter is completed.

  1. Clearly articulate what the finished project will look like.  That is, will there be a powerpoint? what about an oral presentation?  Length? amount of research? etc.
  2. Break the “finished” project down into steps working backward to the point you are at now.  Include a step for final practice, if there is to be a class presentation, and a full-review by all team members of any written material which has to be submitted.
  3. Make sure everyone on the team understands how much time is available to accomplish the required steps getting the job done.
  4. Assign the steps to individuals or sub-groups along a time-line leading to the finished project.  Make sure everyone is clear on their assignments and the time-lines for submission of their assignment(s).
  5. Follow the team charter for any individuals who don’t or won’t participate.

This may seem basic and for those who have been in the program for a while, this might be basic, but I think there are a large number of our entering students who would appreciate a little guidance up-front as they begin to tackle these projects.

10 Insights on Building, Motivating and Managing an Exceptional Team – re-post

I found this great article on LinkedIn and wanted to pass it along.  This is definitely worth the time and can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom or as a teaching resource on teams.

“When it comes to assembling, motivating and keeping a great team happy so that they can flourish in your business, the truth is that it’s a bit of both.

It cannot be understated how important a great team is to a business’ success. The quality of the work you do will never exceed the quality of the team behind it. To many entrepreneur’s and manager’s dismay, team building often seems as complicated as watchmaking—there are a lot of moving parts, and things have to be just right in order to create something magical.

Fortunately, academic research on team culture and group dynamics sheds some much needed light on creating and motivating the perfect team.”

READ MORE

Avoiding Dysfunctional Team Project Groups

An effective Team Project Group can be a valuable experience.  Student are enriched by enhancing their teamwork skills and can find the experience rewarding.  However, it seems for every successful team project group, there are as many which are dysfunctional in one way or another.

As harsh as this may sound, if a team project group is dysfunctional YOU as the Instructor may be to blame.

An effective team project group is a learning process which is guided by the Instructor.  The establishment of the group and facilitating their ability to work together toward a goal is an aspect of the learning outcome for the course which is just as significant in many cases as the content being studied.

So, how do you take ownership for avoiding, as much as humanly possible, a dysfunctional project team?

  1.  Make sure you take the time in the first class session to establish the Team Project Charter.  There is a good post on this HERE.  Establishing the Charter is the starting point for a high performance team.
  2. Take responsibility for facilitating the Team by providing a short period within each class period to meet with each team, working on the content AND the dynamics of teamwork.
  3. Employ the tools available for effective teamwork outside of the classroom.  This can be through Canvas (see post HERE in this Faculty Blog that explains how to do that) or through use of Google Docs (see post HERE in this Faculty Blog that explains how to do that) or some other resource.   Your guidance and assistance here can make the difference in practical, pragmatic functioning of the team.

Finally, I encourage you to pray with and for your project teams and encourage them to pray for each other.  Amazing things can happen when we remember to introduce the Holy Spirit into the team dynamic.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team – from a LinkedIn post

Karl McDonnell, Chief Executive Officer at Strayer, shared this post on Linked In  and I thought you might find it interesting.  I’ve only quoted a short excerpt from the original post.  To read the entire post CLICK HERE.

The three authors behind a new book entitled “Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance” spent time studying this phenomenon and have come up with several solutions. They recently shared five pitfalls of teamwork  with Quartz. You can click over to Quartz for the full post, but I want to highlight solutions to these pitfalls here. Here are five ways to maximize team performance:    Read more . . .

Blessings,

 

SWOT Analysis using a Zig Zag Activity

Although I posted this link several months ago, I think now with the revised curriculum and the emphasis on collaborative learning activities I would bring it back.  SWOT Analysis is one of the basic strategic planning tools used by businesses.  There are a lot of great, short, videos on Youtube which describe what a SWOT analysis is and how to conduct the analysis.  My favorite can be found at this LINK.  The short video below incorporates the SWOT analysis into a classroom activity that promotes student involvement. It is not professionally created but I think you will get the message.  I created the video using a free ipad app: bcontext 

It can seem to be a little chaotic but this activity enhances student engagement and provides a wealth of opportunities for the Instructor to discuss the process as well as the subject of the SWOT analysis.  I think if you try it you will find you will enjoy it.  Save this activity for the latter part of your class period and allow an hour to 90 minutes depending on the size of the class.  You will also need some large poster paper which you can get from the Dean at your campus and four markers.  If you are doing this online, set up four collaborative pages in Canvas, one for each letter (SWOT) and have groups move through in rotation on four consecutive days.  You can set up a separate discussion forum to debrief the experience or compile into a fifth collaborative page.

Swot Analysis Using Zigzag Exercise

View more presentations from Rick Upchurch

Using Case Studies to Enhance Learning in the Classroom

Case Studies have been a tried and true teaching methodology from the beginning of instruction.  Every great teacher has used case studies to bring their students into contact with real life applications of the subject being discussed.  Jesus used mini, or condensed, case studies for the same purpose. Dr. Paul Fritz from Trinity College has a great article on “How to Use Case Studies as Jesus Did” that I encourage you to read.  The Bible itself is full of case studies on a variety of subjects, in fact The Good Book on Leadership is a book entirely devoted to case studies drawn from the Bible.

The graduate curriculum re-design has left space intentionally for collaborative activities to be used in the classroom.  On the list of recommended activities is the use of Case Studies.  However, finding a case study for use may not be easy.  To that end, I’ve asked the wonderful people at our library to provide some easy to find FREE case studies which can be searched on a variety of topics for use in the classroom. They have provided me with this short tutorial which will guide you to resources available through the Belhaven University Library.  I had to stop the tutorial at several points to make sure I could follow, as it auto-progresses through a presentation, but there is gold there if you follow the steps presented.  Of course there are many other paid sources of case studies, such as the book I listed above.  A search on Amazon or similar will turn up many options.

I’ve also gone ahead and prepared a Case Study Analysis model for your use in the classroom.  This is merely to provide a resource to you in case you don’t already have a model for students to use in analyzing case studies.  It is a simple model but should enable your students to get started in the right direction and open up opportunities for learning to take place.  You can find it on the Faculty Resources tab of this Blog, under the White Papers:  Case Study Analysis.

Using this collaborative time may feel a little chaotic at first, but if you have thought through your Collaborative Learning Strategy, I’m confident you will find that both you and the students will be stronger for the experiences. Check out other collaborative ideas at this site by clicking on the category Collaborative Teaching Ideas in the right navigation bar.