There is a much research that shows group-based learning is an effective pedagogical tool. Yet, until recently, the Department of Economics did not use group learning for coursework. In recent years, however, more modules in the Department of Economics such as Economic Policy, Sports Economics & Health Economics have introduced group-based activities into the curriculum. The proposed project will provide students with training in how to get the best out of group learning. Furthermore, we will provide students with valuable skills for working in teams, which the students can put to good use in their later careers.
There are four aims of this proposed project:
- To ensure that students understand the benefits of doing group work. Some students, particularly high achieving students, resent having to do group based activities because they feel that having to work with people will pull down their grades. We want to make students aware that group work will improve their understanding of the course material, as well as providing them with skills that are valued by employers.
- We will provide basic training and advice for those new to group activities. For example, we will make the students aware of the different roles that people can play within a group.
- For those who already have some experience of group work, we will provide resources on which to build their basic skills. For example, how to motivate a team, how to motivate colleagues, how to review performance in a positive way, how to give constructive feedback, how to identify the specific skills and talents of group members.
- We will provide resources to ensure that students have faith in the assessment procedures. We want to make sure that students have a positive experience. Some students are worried about other students taking advantage of their hard work. Within the Economics Department, we use the WebPA Peer Review tool, developed by Loughborough, to calculate the distribution of a group’s overall grade to the individual members of the group. So, students within a group receive different grades based on their effort.
In pursuing these aims we want to ensure that students engage with the information provided to them.
The project will have two parts. The first part of this project will be the development of five short videos which articulate the aims outlined above in a way that is accessible to students in an engaging manner. These videos will track the course of five students working together on a group project. Over the course of these videos we will see the students overcoming the issues typically involved in group projects, whilst highlighting best practices, and demonstrating the value of group work. They will also provide an understanding of the WebPA peer review tool.
The second part of this project will be to utilise Xerte to articulate these aims in a more concrete manner. The five short videos will correspond to five sections of the Xerte site. These sections will contain, alongside the video, a short body of text outlining the key points of the corresponding video. These sections will then be followed by a short test to ensure the aims have been completed.
This project is now complete. See the case study and amazing videos produced.