Back from Spring Break, this week’s piece is an interview between Brian Mathews and his colleague Tom Ewing. Their discussion addresses group work and creating environment for collaborative learning in the classroom. Tom and Brian conclude on possible reasons why students struggle with group assignments.

Most students (particularly in History) are accustomed to working alone: grades are an individual effort.


Students are comfortable with writing papers—designing something was a completely different experience.


There is a sense of imbalance—one person ends up doing most of the work.


There is fear of showing what you don’t know.


Students are very comfortable with study groups but working together on a graded assignment introduced different dynamics. Perhaps there is some trust building (and maturity) that they have not developed yet?

Tom then used those lessons to stimulate sense of partnership by gathering a group of undergraduate students working on a research topic and observed positive group dynamic from the research outcome. Find out the rest in the article.

Our First Friday Roundtable titled “Motivating Academic Honesty. Should we use software? What are various strategies to use to reduce dishonesty?” will take place next week, April 15th, Gore 208. Register here.