There is not enough time in class to use collaborative learning activities

All the team work activities carried out effectively in class do not require much time.

Richard Felder, chemical engineering professor at the State University of North Carolina, suggests that some of the questions raised during the explanation in class should be assigned to small groups and then they should be given 30 seconds to get the answers (Felder and Brent, 1994). For example, instead of presenting all the material of the class in an explanation, the teachers can give the students some handouts with explanations and diagrams (Felder and Brent, 1994) leaving some blank spaces to fill them out during the class or afterwards. This way, the teachers can use the time that they used to use to write on the board, in other learning activities.

When the tasks are done in a group, some students don’t contribute and they get the credit for the work they didn’t do

Collaborative learning includes ways of assuring the individual responsibility. (Felder and Brend, 1994). Students that don’t participate, usually fail their individual exams, short tests or homework. Another technique to assure the participation of all members is to ask a student, randomly, to expose the solution to the team, and afterwards give the whole group the same grade, based on that person’s answer. This technique is more effective when the teacher makes the effort of not asking this to the top students. These students usually take the responsibility of making sure that the other members of the group understand the solutions.

Another way is to make the students evaluate the other group members anonymously and list the names of those who actually contributed to the activity.

Tweets about writing

How do I evaluate teamwork?

Collaborative Learning activities commonly have several goals, including individualized learning, success in the team’s work and having a collaborative product. Since the support of peers in learning the course materials is the responsibility of each of the students involved, collaboration and individual opinion are two of the main assessment requirements in almost all projects. This includes, participating in class, attendance, individual preparation and cooperation, which includes helping others in learning the course materials.

 

An important role for the Professor is observation and monitoring of said groups.

 

By observing these groups of students, allows the professor to understand the quality of interaction within a group and see the progress in particular tasks. When you’ll observe these groups in a classroom setting, look for examples in which students are paying attention, having a serious discussion and progressing towards a common goal through collaboration by each of the members of said team.

Make use of technology to keep track of all the individual or group activities. The use of emails or learning softwares may be used in order to communicate progresses, plans or even decisions to the professor.  Monitoring teams that meet outside of the classroom may be done through drafting a group report in advance, with a list of such meetings, and all documents submitted during the project. Some professors will ask students to submit daily reports in order to verify that the team is fulfilling the work plan and progressing individually and in cooperation with the other team members.

You may assess individually, by team or by having a combination of both.

If the students are given time to work in groups during the lesson, they only socialize and don’t do the work.

If there is a high level of organization and self- responsibility, is not a problem to keep the students interested in the activity. The teams that finish their activity early can help each other on the following activity or task, speak silently or leave early. When the activity is exciting and interactive, the students will be so involved in it that the debate will continue even after the class is finished, as it observed Doug Duncan, astronomy and astrophysics professor at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Duncan gave a weekly challenge to small groups. The week he spoke about dynamics he challenged the students to predict what would happen if he let a bowling ball and metal marble fall. “I was informed that on that week many students were throwing objects from their room’s balcony. So at least something had occurred: I achieved one of my objectives. The students got interested on science and they enjoyed it, regardless of whether their prediction was correct or not.” he said.

The misprints’ maze: the many levels of correction

The word correction is usually related with straightness. It gives us the idea of making straight something that is not yet so, literally “rectifying”. Straightness is measured with a rule, the tool that at the same time serves as a point of comparison and measurement. Without the rule as our reference point, we cannot determine if we are missing “straightness”.

Correction as an activity related to the word, has inevitably, its own rules or reference points from where we can determine whether something is missing straightness; something that therefore, needs “correction”. The rule, as a reference point, should not be mistaken for rigidity and a lack of judgement. A rule should be firm enough so it fulfills its function appropriately, and flexible enough so it doesn’t break in the process. The huge amount of rules of a language has contributed to view the editor as a “police of the word”, as if an error would be the equivalent to a misdemeanor, that can be judged and punished.

Correction, within the field of printed communication, has many levels, at the end all of them related to the word, the writing and the letter itself (or graphic signs). Before start correcting, the terms of the task should be very clear: Is it necessary to check the way the ideas are organized, the design of the information, the development of the topics, or the selection of the contents itself? It is necessary to correct the communication, the expression or the way of exposing the information and the ideas? It is necessary to sort out the writing according to the general rules of sentence, phrase, word and paragraph construction used in the specific language (syntax and morphology)?