CPD Webinar : Aligning Microsoft Teams to group work and problem-based learning

I attended a webinar last week run by the lovely Dr Linda Kaye as part of the #digilearn series. Linda gave us a scenario to consider where by students have complained that in their group work, some students are not pulling their weight and asked if we came across this in our own work to which the majority responded with a resounding ‘YES’

Practical Example

Linda explained how her students were given this topic to undertake as individual and group work culminating in a joint presentation at the end .

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Process

She assigns students to groups and sets these up on teams where they have specific team based tutorial discussions to enable them to work together. Students capture details using the ‘Conversations’ Tab. Meeting Notes from Face 2 Face meetings can be stored and shared Files made available in preparation for the presentation. Students manage the file storage themselves etc

Evaluation

She also uses Teams to get students to evaluate the module and their experiences of it such as asking for them to submit details of what they think other team members contribution was . Contributions were assessed using the following rubric.

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Advantages of this approach allows corroboration using Teams platform itself.

Linda felt that Teams helped with providing a meaningful context and environment where work could be undertaken. Having their own chanel gave them their own space and it was visible from the point of view that Linda could see what was happening in terms of progress outside the usual tutorial process. Linda was able to intervene if they were going off track but also track contributions and engagement in real time. Linda reflected that she need to explain exactly what her role as tutor is right up front and ensure that students understand this before the discussions started.

Benefits

Linda felt that Teams allowed streamlining of resources and visibility of others learning thus allowing them to reflect on their own learning. It encourages lots of peer to peer support – Linda only had 1 email query for this assignment !

She was able to see evidence of the students project management skills and this also helped with verification for second marking etc. It makes things very transparent and clear including the emphasis on the process of undertaking the assignment and the focus on them taking ownership of their own learning resources. Using Teams in this way enabled more student led learning. Linda pointed out that the success of the case study may have also been down to the fact that there was a 50% individual mark

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Linda explained that students generally found it helpful and impactful in terms of motivation and overall group work (n= 21 students at Level 6) . They recognised that their knowledge was expanded through working with others.

Student Feedback

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My Reflections

This was a really interesting webinar for me to attend in a number of ways. I loved how Linda interwove the student perspective throughout her presentation. Thumbs up to #digilearn Sector for arranging it.

Interestingly Linda faced logistical issues in terms of making sure that students had access to Teams ( which they didn’t automatically) but these were all solved with the IT Department. Also really interesting to note that students didn’t really need any help with using teams and seemed to find it quite intuitive. Some groups did have alternative channels that they were already using like Whatsapp etc so their Teams area looked a bit sparse but this was resolved by taking screen shots of the whatsapp interactions and uploading them to the Teams space.

I’m still not a huge fan of Teams though and I think this stems from many challenges with using Teams across institutions – it doesn’t seem to play well across sites in my limited experience of using it. When I did the a webinar the other day for #digilearn sector I had to sign in using my student ID as we use it at Lancaster and despite trying to sort out a seperate ID it just struggled, once I was in with my Student Account it was ok though. Although it now means I have bits and pieces of notifications all over the place. I find it all gets a bit confusing and have found that other platforms that do similar things has worked better for me. However, it does have some interesting features and I definitely got the impression from Linda’s presentation that it seemed to work well enough ( I wonder if only involving a single institution was the key factor here….)

Resources

Find out more about Linda’s work

Find out more about #DigiLearn Sector Community

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