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Oakley et al. (2004) and Gibbs (2009) observe that owing to the extensive literature on group work, lecturers searching for a succinct guide on how to facilitate this activity effectively would find it challenging to digest such a large corpus. We extensively reviewed the literature in order to produce a quick and accessible guide for lecturers to use. It is our aspiration that this could be referred to when planning and facilitating group work projects with insights and recommendations informed by our research. Moreover, as this work draws on publications from educators in a wide range of disciplines, we expect this guide to be universally applicable.
Recommendations: We recommend that lecturers new to group work should consider implementing the following key steps when carrying out group work: Produce and distribute a Group Work Policy document, Ask students to produce Team Expectations Agreements, Establish a transparent group formation mechanism (e.g. ‘Pair and Share’), Choose assessment methods to align with learning outcomes as related to Person, Process, or Product, Manage emergent conflict and discipline issues using a series of measures of increasing consequence for the student Future work Our group report and artefact could be condensed and edited into a short pamphlet or flyer, which could be distributed to lecturers in different departments as a practical aid for facilitating group projects. In addition, our ‘guide to good practice’ could be further developed in the form of a mobile, or web application for rapid accessibility and convenience.
McCrea, R., Neville, I., Rickard, D., Walsh, C., Williams, D. (2016) Facilitating group work: a guide to good practice. Dublin: Technological University Dublin.