Undergraduate students are often inexperienced in teamwork processes, particularly in professional contexts. Many of the skills related to working in teams that we would like them to acquire are tacit and can only be practised in group settings. And while students may be happy to work in groups, social relations are often conflated with team working relationships.
Reflective writing can be employed to make teamwork processes explicit. These processes may include things like: on-task communication, conflict resolution, priority setting, etc. Once useful teamwork processes are experienced and named, they are more available for effective learning through reflection.
This pattern assumes that most students have already received introductory treatment of reflective writing and assessment (including a framework, writing skill sets and knowledge of assessment associated with reflection).
- Determine and establish the relevance and authenticity of the task in professional contexts. Also establish the need to adopt a team-based approach to tasks of this nature.
- Determine student competence in writing reflectively as individuals. For students who require it, direct them to tutorial and/or base materials that introduce the basic reflective writing framework, let them practise skills and provide an overview of assessment methods.
- Likewise, determine student competence in working collaboratively. For students who require it, direct them to tutorial and/or base materials that introduce a basic teamwork framework, let them practice skills and provide an overview of (teamwork) assessment methods.
- Provide details of the task as formal summative assessment. Pay particular attention to what parts of the assessment are team-based (where members receive the same result) and which parts are individually-based. Provide detailed assessment criteria (Resource 2), including samples of how they have been applied in the past. Scaffold the task carefully and in detail. For example, the task product may be team-assessed while reflections on process might be individually assessed. (Resources and notices posted to Blackboard
- Give the students a practice activity in team problem-solving with an exercise that shares some of the important elements of the assessable task. Highlight the need to uncover effective teamwork practices and principles (that are normally tacit), along with the difficulty in simultaneously engaging in problem-solving while gathering evidence for reflection. As part of the activity, set aside a sub-task for team members to reflect on team and individual processes. This normally requires some explicit scaffolding (setting aside time, giving prompts, organising recording, etc.). Students should swap reflections and engage in peer-assessment using a simplified criteria set. The team should present their solution along with aggregated reflections to a wider audience.
- Continue scaffolding and monitoring of teams as the major task is completed.
- When assessment is finished, collect samples and gain permission for re-use (in subsequent semesters) from relevant students.
- Unit outline for LWB240 includes resources, assessment requirements and criteria for the Individual ePortfolio reflection assessment that were provided for students. This followed the Week 2 lecture where the ePortfolio reflection assessment was introduced and students were pointed to relevant learning resources. These included an online ePortfolio module so students could learn about the ePortfolio, and the 4R model of reflection as well as an exemplar of a reflection using this framework. An FAQ for ePortfolio reflections was also provided.
- Reflective writing overview
- The 4Rs model
- Some reflective writing exemplars
- ePortfolio reflections FAQ
- Criteria and standards for reflection assessment
Vovko, M. (2009). Group work [Image]. Retrieved March 16, 2011 from http://www.trimo-urbancrash.com/blog/post.php?i=69
In Law Education, Tina Cockburn uses legal letter writing as the team task for second-year students in LWB240. In Teacher Education, Michael Ryan has used a Web Inquiry Project as the team task for first-year students in EDB006 (see DSP pattern).