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What stage is your group at?
- Time to prepare 'We've got enough time to plan our team strategies. We want to work through and understand the whole group process.'
- Fast start 'We're about to start the group assignment and we need to move fast.'
- Working through the task 'Our group work is underway and we need some help.'
- Thinking back 'We need to improve our group work so it's better next time.'
4.1 Group Work and Assessment (Collaborative Assessment)
Group work and collaborative assessment should be used in assessment only in such instances where there is a strong link between the need for collaborative learning, to learn about group processes, and the subject objectives. In the design of group assessment, it is recommended that the assessment task allows for the recognition of individual contribution (such as log books or learning journals) and clearly indicates the responsibilities of the individual member with the group task. It is recommended that group or collaborative work should not account for more than 30% of the total assessment in a subject. Under specific cases, this may be varied with the written permission of the RAO.
In some faculties, collaborative assessment tasks are integral to the assessment process. However, there may be some students who are unable or unwilling to participate in group work. Their reasons include:
- personal disability;
- family commitments;
- living a long way from campus (thereby making group work very difficult to coordinate);
- individual temperament; or
- reluctance to rely on other students to pull their weight.
Students who cite either of the first two reasons should be referred to the relevant Academic Liaison Officer. With respect to the third reason, the Subject Coordinator should make a decision based on advice from the Responsible Academic Officer (to ensure consistent policy across the faculty), the merits of the individual case and the availability of accommodating technology (such as 'virtual conferences').The last two reasons are usually not acceptable because an important objective of collaborative work is to assess the degree to which students can cooperate with each other in working towards a common goal. It is important that subject outlines specify the required degree of collaboration so that students have time to withdraw from the subject if they feel unable to complete that requirement.
Students should not be penalised or disadvantaged by the actions of other group members over which they have no control. Students should notify lecturers in a timely manner and provide substantiating documentation of any problems in relation to group work.
- Fastfacts: Collaborative Group Work (Univ. of Guelph)
- Tips for online group discussion (PDF) (Univ. of St. Paul)
This tutorial is for students learning in groups. The complementary website for UTS teaching staff is Enhancing Experiences of Group Work. The two websites are integrated in content and approach.