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Best Practices Involving Teamwork in the Classroom: Results From a Survey of 6435 Engineering Student Respondents

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4 Author(s)
Oakley, B.A. ; Oakland Univ., Rochester ; Hanna, D.M. ; Kuzmyn, Z. ; Felder, R.M.

A teamwork survey was conducted at Oakland University, Rochester, MI, in 533 engineering and computer science courses over a two-year period. Of the 6435 student respondents, 4349 (68%) reported working in teams. Relative to the students who only worked individually, the students who worked in teams were significantly more likely to agree that the course had achieved its stated learning objectives (p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed that roughly one-quarter of the variance in belief about whether the objectives were met could be explained by four factors: 1) student satisfaction with the team experience; 2) the presence of instructor guidance related to teamwork; 3) the presence of slackers on teams; and 4) team size. Pearson product-moment correlations revealed statistically significant associations between agreement that the course objectives had been fulfilled and the use of student teams and between satisfaction with teams and the occurrences of instructor guidance on teamwork skills. These and other results suggest that assigning work to student teams can lead to learning benefits and student satisfaction, provided that the instructor pays attention to how the teams and the assignments are set up.

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 3 )