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The value of project-based, collaborative assignments has been established both theoretically and empirically in a significant body of literature. This type of learning experience has been shown to promote long-term retention of material, foster the higher-order cognitive activities such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation, and introduce the student to an experience that closely models the environment he or she will encounter in the workforce. Students and faculty, however, indicate that fair and meaningful evaluation of the collaborative assignment is an overarching concern. Since the group-interaction elements of this type of assignment are of great interest - especially in terms of measuring such constructs as group productivity, division of labor, and teamwork skills and detecting instances of social loafing - evaluation cannot be based solely on the assessment by the instructor of the final product produced by the team. A blending of instructor, self, and peer assessment of the entire collaborative process is indicated. The problems associated with gathering, weighing, and analyzing the data from such a multifaceted evaluation are quite daunting. There is, furthermore, little consensus on what data is available and how it can be effectively processed to facilitate evaluation of the teamwork in collaborative learning activities conducted in an ALN. The goal of this study was to develop a reliable and valid instrument for conducting a three-pronged (instructor, self, and peer) evaluation of project-based, collaborative learning assignments.
Date of Conference: 10-13 Oct. 2007