Last week I gave my students back their group project assignments. They actually did quite a superb job, across the board. I asked them to provide me with comments on their own contribution, using a rubric I developed that was my adaptation and a shorter version of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) “teamwork” rubric that can be found at http://www.aacu.org/VALUE/rubrics/. And, then I also left it open if they wanted to share any comments with me about the teamwork demonstrated in their group.
I knew because of some individual requests for guidance that most of the groups had encountered some conflict or difficulty and a sense of uneven contribution to the final outcome. This perhaps was exacerbated when I awarded fairly high grades for the project, and students who felt they had done the lion’s share expressed some resentment of others for contributing less and getting the same grade. Then, as we were debriefing the project and the course overall, students provided even more interesting ideas and alternatives about group projects for the class.
This led me to go searching that evening for resources on designing group projects. I hit the jackpot, from my perspective, with the advice and resources posted on the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Educational Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Educatus readers may also find this a helpful resource on using group projects effectively.