Student teams can be used for an assortment of tasks, but these tasks generally can be categorized as in-class exercises, routine homework, or extended projects. Each of these requires different strategies for instructor monitoring and self-assessment.
In-class Exercises Teams may work on in-class exercises that involve answering or generating questions, explaining observations, working through derivations, solving problems, summarizing lecture material, troubleshooting, and brainstorming. For in-class exercises, instructors might assess effectiveness of these teams by observing them in action; asking them to self monitor by using a survey about the operation and performance of the team; by reviewing (or grading) some team product; or by a combination of these methods. Two examples of survey forms that faculty members have used are presented at the end of this document. Another example of a survey form is the Team Process Check (TPC), developed by faculty members at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. The TPC may be accessed at
The site is password protected, but Ted Powers, , may be contacted for the access information.
Routine Homework Instructors can assign routine homework for completion by teams instead of individuals. As with teams for in-class exercises, instructors need to occasionally check the effectiveness of these teams. Observing the teams in these out-of-class activities is difficult, but surveys about the operation and performance of the team can be used, and there is ample opportunity to evaluate products produced by the team. However, this evaluation may not indicate team effectiveness as well as observation of in-class exercises because the work may or may not be done in a cooperative manner.
Extended Projects Instructors may use extended assignments in which teams carry out experiments or research studies, complete problems sets or design projects, write reports, or prepare class presentations. If the duration of the assignment is more than a week or two, then some evaluation is appropriate, and surveys of team operation may be the most direct and informative approach.