Don’t Dismiss the Benefits of Group Projects
Benefits of Group Projects (Cont.) Develops communication skills
It is widely acknowledged that group or team projects are a staple of undergraduate and graduate software engineering courses. Such projects provide students with experiences that better prepare them for their careers, so teamwork is often required or strongly encouraged by accreditation agencies. While there are a multitude of educational benefits of group projects, they also pose considerable challenge in fairly and accurately discerning individual contribution for evaluation purposes. Issues, approaches, and best practices for evaluating individual contribution are presented from the perspectives of the University of Kentucky, University of Ottawa, University of Southern California, and others. The techniques utilized within a particular course generally are a mix of (1) the group mark is everybody's mark, (2) everybody reports what they personally did, (3) other group members report the relative contributions of other group members, (4) pop quizzes on project details, and (5) cross-validating with the results of individual work.
It is relatively easy to visualise the benefits of group projects
Group projects are often used in psychology courses to prepare students for future collaborative work. However, psychology alumni report that their education did not adequately prepare them for collaborative work. To better understand these perceptions, this study examined how instructor contributions (involvement and evaluation techniques) promote the benefits of group projects by positively influencing intragroup processes. In this study of current psychology majors, mediation analyses revealed an indirect effect of instructor involvement through goal orientation, as well as the direct effect of instructor evaluation techniques on perceptions of group projects. Moreover, instructor contributions positively predicted group cohesion, communication, goal orientation, and planning. Results suggest ways in which instructors can improve psychology majors’ collaborative experiences for experiential learning.