Moving On Up Again to the Projects

Project DemolitionTwo months ago, I described the worksheets that I used for project-based learning in two of my spring courses as a mixed experience. In the spirit of experimentation, I’ve reformulated three worksheets for use in a fall course.

The first worksheet asks each student to identify what skills he or she thinks are important in collaborating with others. The student then rates all team members individually and the team as a whole on these skills with a three-point scale.

The second worksheet asks each student to diagnose whether his or her team is is functioning effectively and write down what he or she can personally do to solve any problems.

In the third worksheet, students rate themselves and their teammates according to criteria I’ve established:

  • writing quality;
  • creativity, problem solving ability, and leadership;
  • responsibility and willingness to overcome challenges.

Each student then reviews what he or she has written for these categories and assigns an average score for each team member. Each score must be a different number.

In contrast to the worksheets from last semester, these worksheets are assignments students do outside of class. Each satisfactorily completed worksheet will add one percent to the student’s final grade. Also I will compute an average score each student from the scores he or she receives on the third worksheet from everyone on his or her team; this score is worth up to three percent of the final grade. So the worksheets’ stakes are low, but I’m hoping high enough to induce students to complete them. My main goal in assigning them is for students to engage in some self-reflection that will improve their collaboration skills.

I’ve also made some changes to the projects themselves, to more clearly communicate role, audience, and format in each project’s final product. I’ll write a separate post about that in the near future.

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