Group work

Aug. 8th, 2017 03:18 pm
liv: Cartoon of a smiling woman with a long plait, teaching about p53 (teacher)
[personal profile] liv
I'm on a mission to redeem group work in education. I expect this to be controversial among many of my friends. So if I'm right and lots of you have terrible memories / experiences of being made to do bad group work, I invite you to comment here and tell me what was bad about it. Do you think it's just awful, or are there problems that might be fixed? I believe strongly that while it can be dire, it can also be great, or perhaps I might phrase it as, there are things that look like group work superficially but are actually great.

Because I'm on a mission this may turn into a more formal research survey at some point, but in that case I'll pose the question in a formal context with ethics and everything. Right now I'm just trying to gather some opinions and not just rely on my own ideas. Plus I am eye-deep in paperwork and I could do with some distraction, so do rant away.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-08 04:40 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
Aaaaiiiee people!!! Says the introvert.

I never really had any group projects, but I can point at a potentially interesting example. Each year the US Navy's Naval Postgraduate School has a group project for the people on the Total Ship Systems Engineering course: they are presented with a set of requirements and then they have to design a warship to meet them, and on occasion they then have to present that ship design to the professional heads of the USN.

The project reports through 2006 are available here: https://web.nps.edu/Academics/GSEAS/TSSE/subPages/Projects.html They can be densely technical, and there's not that much on the group dynamics, but even with commissioned naval officers on a postgraduate course, there's occasional griping that teams they were cooperating with didn't pull their weight.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-08-08 09:59 pm (UTC)
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
From: [personal profile] davidgillon
And what I didn't really bring out was these are generally studies of ideas the USN is really considering using, they aren't just make work. What the students design might actually influence policy.

I believe the UK's course for naval architects (at UCL IIRC) has a similar group design project, though I think with smaller teams and without official linkage.

That's probably a fair point with respect to pulling weight, but if someone is asked to produce X and doesn't, then it's fairly obvious there's an issue.

I think the best approach to making teamwork introvert friendly may be to have an advisor who, at least initially, is there to facilitate the group until it's up and running. It's certainly my experience that interaction isn't so difficult once I know people and the structure we're interacting within. And maybe plan escape routes? How does someone ask for help if they're being marginalised or abused? This actually applies beyond introverts to any minority group. The group structure may force them into proximity with people they've been avoiding for their own safety.

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Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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