Linking teamwork and student mental health
Dr. Melissa Boyce, PhD, associate dean (undergraduate programs and student affairs) in the Faculty of Arts talks about why she uses team projects in her courses and how they can positively impact student mental health and well-being when they are well-designed.
Strategies for building wellbeing into team projects
Incorporating principles of wellbeing into team project design is essential to facilitating positive team interactions and preventing grouphate. Baik et al. (2017) identified several ways in which courses can be intentionally designed to promote student wellbeing. Each of these is provided in Table 1 along with examples of how each strategy can be used to facilitate teamwork that is conducive to students’ wellbeing.
- Allow teams to choose project topics
- Ask teams to write project outlines for how they will demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes identified in grading rubric
- Provide formative feedback on project proposal or outline
- Use a criterion-based grading rubric to assess team projects
- Build course content around team project
- Incorporate team presentations/teaching into course curriculum
- Schedule class time for students to work on team project
- Review project instructions and address student questions in class
- In advance, provide students with all grading rubrics that will be used to assess their work
- Provide project exemplars or templates where appropriate
- Include deadlines for components of the project to help teams manage expectations
- Outline steps for students to seek clarification or support if a question or conflict arises
- Build authentic learning experiences into project learning outcomes
- Discuss the benefits of collaborative learning with the class
- Use low stakes assessment (i.e., less than 20% of final grade)
- Include a peer evaluation component in the assessment to promote accountability (e.g., www.itpmetrics.com)
Tips on being an effective team member from the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo.
Additional tips for teaching teamwork skills from Edith Cowan University, Australia.
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