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Teams, Learning

  • Teams can be nearly any size; however, 3-5 is the most common size and is considered in the literature to be the "optimal" size.
  • For long term teams, consider having students develop a set of team rules with which all students agree and that a signed copy be submitted. Be sure that the teams include penalties for disobeying those rules. Make it clear to students that if they sign the list of rules, they are agreeing to abide by them. This can help reduce potential team participation issues, as you as the instructor can fall back on the rules that team chose and agreed to.
  • Encourage students to ask their teammates questions before directing them to you. This not only encourages team interdependence but also reduces the amount of load on the instructor, as they should only be answering questions for which the entire team has no answer.
  • Learning Teams are typically chosen when there are complex, cognitive critical thinking skills involved, and when a highly successful project or assignment cannot be completed by independent means. They are also chosen when skills for working in a team setting are a desired outcome. Guidelines for designing assignments, as well as assisting students through the team experience, integrate well into the academic setting.
  • Within some communities, the term "group" and "team" are different, with groups being assembled on an ad-hoc basis and teams being longer term interactions. Within other communities, the terms are synonymous.