In its 2009 “Job Outlook,” the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that employers rated job applicants with communication skills, strong work ethics, teamwork skills, and initiative more highly than those with other skills and attributes. Teamwork skills were tied with strong work ethics and were second only to communication skills. The most desirable team is the high-performing team, which is a high-performance collaborative learning group; a collaborative learning group, which performs above the level of its individual members, is sometimes called a real team. It is difficult for most teams to achieve the level of a high-performance collaborative learning group. For most student teams, it is also difficult to achieve the level of a real team. Hence, student teams should be monitored and supported on a continual basis, rather than merely monitored and evaluated at regular intervals. In an urban university’s computing science department, a computer science course taught in three semesters over three years was centrally focused on student learning. The course instances were structured around teams; some were monitored and supported, while others were not. In the course, students kept journals and were taught how to work in teams. The teams were formed by the professor, using a multiple intelligence inventory as well as student provided information on their academic profile. The life-span of each team was the duration of the semester with the task of working together as a unit both in and out of class on all elements of the course except exams. In this paper, we intend to show, for the small sample under study, that with monitoring and supporting of teams and their members, individual and team performances increase toward their optimum values as well as students’ desired, expected, and actual performances become better aligned.
|Keywords:||Teamwork, Collaborative Learning, Monitoring and Supporting, Performance|
Associate Professor, Pace University, New York, NY, USA
Education Research Consultant, Bronx, NY, USA
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