Team work in an introductory organic and biochemistry classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The goal of this research was to compare the results of students working in formal, structured groups, which I called teams, with other students in previous sections of the same class who did not work in teams. The students working in teams were surveyed to determine their level of comfort when working in groups as well as to determine the specific drawbacks and benefits of group work from past experiences. Next students scheduled time outside of the class to work as a team and these teams stayed the same throughout the semester with a few exceptions. I completed a checklist of desired behaviors during each of the lab sessions of the class as well as during group work exercises. I did this to gather specific information on student behavior during formal class time as well as informal, non-required meeting times. I interviewed students upon completion of the treatment to summarize their thoughts and feelings. The survey was administered again the end of the semester to determine if student perceptions and behaviors concerning group work changed. Finally, assessment scores were compared to determine if there were gains in student retention of course material between students in the class this semester versus students in previous sections of the class. There were two main differences between the two groups of students. The students working in teams worked through more material than the previous group of students. The students working in teams were also much more willing to rely on their peers as opposed to coming to the instructor for help.




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