July 1, 2013
Writer: Hayden Coombs
CAUTION: "Group assignments can and, all too often, do more harm than good." So says Larry Michaelsen, nationally recognized expert and author of five books on the use and abuse of group assignments in the university classroom. Dr. Michaelsen's specialty areas are: Team-Based Learning, Designing Effective Group Assignments, Individual and Group Decision Making, Integrative Business Experience (IBE), and Inter-personal and Team Skill Development.
The Academic Office has arranged for Dr. Michaelsen to come to campus and lead several faculty workshops on Thursday, September 12, and Friday, September 13, 2013. There will be two workshops on Thursday, at noon and again at 3:00 pm titled "Designing Group Work that Really Works." His Friday workshop at 8:00 am is titled, "Getting Beyond Covering Content."
The focus of Dr. Michaelsen's Thursday workshops is to lead a discussion about designing group work that really works. In these workshops, faculty will engage in a series of activities that demonstrate why most problems with learning groups are caused by poorly designed assignments. In addition, faculty will learn about four keys that will enable them to design group assignments that:
- are effective for developing students' application and critical-thinking skills,
- promote positive student attitudes about group work,
- can be graded easily and fairly, and
- can be used with any level of students and in classes of up to several hundred students.
The Friday workshop will begin with a demonstration of the Readiness Assurance Process. This process enables teachers to spend most of the class time focusing on content applications without reducing the number of concepts that are covered. Following the demonstration, faculty will explore additional issues and concerns about using learning groups including: Building groups into self-managed learning teams with norms that promote high levels of individual preparation, content engagement, and class attendance.
If you would like to attend any of the Larry Michaelsen workshops, please fill out this form.