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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poll Everywhere is a web-based tool which easily builds into powerpoint presentations to allow students to respond from their mobile devices. It presents the results in real time, allowing for evaluation of knowledge, or as a prompt for discussion.
Here is a short video which demonstrates it’s use.
Using Polleverywhere is relatively simple and can definitely liven up a presentation. It also allows individuals who rarely speak in class to contribute in a low threat environment. Using this type of tool makes the discussion more relevant and students experience a greater sense of understanding the material
The video above describes the process pretty clearly, but here is an article which also goes into detail about how to use Poll Everywhere:
I was reviewing some of the videos available through Mentor Commons to find one I thought you would find helpful and I ran across this one. It is about 18 minutes and I definitely think you will find something useful here.
I want to thank you for the significant impact you have had on my heart, my mind, and my spiritual growth over the past four years during my undergraduate studies. You inspired me to take each subject into my heart, infusing each one with a biblical application that brought meaning and importance never before seen. You helped me to assign words to my Christian worldview, and to embrace my biblical beliefs boldly. You pointed the way for me to look back at my life, to identify how my worldview was formed and to appreciate the gifts I was given in my upbringing. You were patient when life got tough and I needed Grace on a deadline here and there. You directed me to the One who would provide exactly what I needed in every course, every day, and every week. You helped to identify the talents God gave me and encouraged me to believe it is never too late to become the person He planned for me to be. You gave me a safe place to be in community each week, in prayer, in vulnerability with one another, and in trusting friendships.
Because of you, I became a more effective employee, a more compassionate friend and a closer-walking disciple of Jesus. The BSM diploma and the James W. Park award are humbling honors I will always cherish, but they hold more meaning because of the many ways my life was enriched by you.
Thank you, and God bless you, Susan (Scarbeck) Anderson
Dr. Darrell Baughn, a Full-Time Instructor at Jackson/Lefleur shared with me a powerpoint presentation he uses during all his courses to introduce students to writing expectations. You can find the file here if you would like to use it: APA GUIDE.
A week ago I heard about a student complaining that the Instructor was grading too hard on the writing, instead of focusing on the content. Obviously, the Instructor, in this case, has made the important connection that unless the writing is done right, the content likely won’t even be read in a real-world context. We have to reinforce an emphasis upon writing across the curriculum and ALL of us have to hold this line. To do less is to graduate students who simply won’t succeed in the workplace because they cannot write clearly and with appropriate grammar.
Whether you use Dr. Barnes material above or the other resources which have been shared through these blogs and webinars, please make sure in EVERY course you teach that you set the standard, and then hold the students to that standard. To do anything else is to let them down, and to fail in our mission.
If you have something that you use to reinforce the importance of writing with your students, please share that in reply to this post.
I posted this initially in April of 2017 but I thought I’d share it again since I believe it can be an exceptionally good way to review for tests, not to mention reinforcing information in a way that engages the students and creates a little fun along the way:
I know you are always on the lookout for an activity to use after 9:00 that will actively engage students and make that last hour meaningful.
Here is one activity that will do that. Kahoot. Kahoot is a classroom engagement software that is free to instructors and provides an interesting way to engage students in content. I’ve included some links to a couple of tutorials about how to use Kahoot below.
It will involve you setting up the activity in advance but on the plus side, it can be used over and over again as you teach the class. This would make a great test-review session and could spark some interesting discussion as well. Don’t be put off that the tutorials are based on secondary education models – this will work just as well for adults in that last hour of class. I’ve been in a session when this was used and I can personally vouch for how effective it is.
Please post a reply to this if you use it and let me know how it went.
This was a webinar which was just presented by Dr. Kim Priesmeyer, Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed at this LINK.
This was one of our best attended webinars and a LOT of great information was shared about using Speed Grader and Feedback Studio. The conversation evolved into best practices related to grading overall and I know you will find something useful in this presentation. I hope you will take the time to watch/listen to the presentation.
Dr. Priesmeyer, in her new role as Dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning, is also interested in hearing from you about other webinars or faculty development experiences. You can contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the results from the fall Continuing Student Survey which was conducted just before Thanksgiving. We’ve been doing this survey at least twice a year now for four years. While the information I will be sharing below is for all our regional campuses, the data is able to be filtered by campus and that report is provided to the Dean at each campus. If you would like to know more about the results relative to the campus where you teach, contact the Dean and set up a time to look at the data.
Please rate your experience with the following campus offices relative to the support you receive.
Fall 2018 survey of active students
As you can see from the above, 91% of our students are satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the support they receive from Faculty. This continues to support our faith in our faculty and their dedication to student learning and student success. Thank You!
How much time do you spend outside of class on completing your homework?
< 8 hrs.
> 16 hrs.
As you can see, the majority of students indicate they spend at least 8 hours per week outside of class on their homework with many spending more than 12 hours per week.
Why are you pursuing completing your degree?
Factors, like getting a promotion or changing a job, comprise 52.48% (undergraduate), and 54.51% (graduate) of the primary motivation for pursuing a degree. Nearly as important, however, is the desire to achieve a personal goal.
I attended a faculty workshop at Jackson where one of the librarians from Belhaven’s Library shared how to access their database of clips from 60 Minutes to use in class. This is a great way to start a discussion and present different perspectives. Here is the process:
From the Belhaven homepage, click on Library under Academics
Scroll down and click on Databases (in the gold box)
Scroll down to the bottom of the list of databases and click on 60 Minutes: 1997-2014. It’s the last database listed.
You will have to enter your Belhaven credentials to access the material
At each of the faculty workshops I visited, or sent video to, for the Fall 2018 rotation for Belhaven University, I challenged the faculty to become a “4 Square Instructor.” When this idea first came my way from an article by Neil Haave, titled “Teaching Squares Bring Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives” I thought there might be something there which could be used to help overcome the chronic problem every teacher faces: becoming trapped in their own pedagogical ruts. After discussing this with the Deans at Belhaven’s Regional Campuses in our Summit in August, we decided on a model that provides an interesting option for improving or refreshing their practice of teaching. The 4 Square Instructor model below is the result.
Instructors who have been through the approval process for Belhaven can become 4 Square Instructors by:
Visit 3 other classes outside your normal course assignments or discipline for a couple of hours to find new teaching ideas (this is not for critique, but to find new ways to make the subject material come alive).
Implement at least one new idea into a class you are teaching.
Write up summary, at least 2 pages, including which classes you visited, what you learned, what you tried and how it worked. Don’t be afraid to describe failures as they can be an excellent source of learning.
Present at an upcoming faculty workshop as called upon by the Dean at that Regional site.
Receive a 4 Square Instructor Polo shirt for that year
Repeat every year.
Not everyone will do this, or even be able to, but I see the possibility of some interesting cross-pollination of ideas which will definitely benefit our students. Note, there may be some variation from one site to another so check with your Dean for specifics.
Give it some thought. If you want suggestions on which classes to visit, contact the Dean at your campus.