Teaching Teamwork: Electronics Instruction in a Collaborative Environment

The Community College Journal of Research and Practice has published a new article by Paul Horwitz, Alina von Davier, John Chamberlain, Al Koon, Jessica Andrews, and Cynthia McIntyre in January 2017.

The Teaching Teamwork project, a collaboration between the Concord Consortium, CORD, Tidewater Community College, and Educational Testing Service, is using an online simulated electronic circuit to assess students’ abilities to work together as a team. We pose problems that must be tackled collaboratively, and log students’ actions as they attempt to solve them. We log all relevant student actions, including calculations, measurements, communications, and alterations made by the students to the circuit itself. Automated analysis of the resulting data sheds light on the problem-solving strategy of each team, sometimes with surprising results.

Collaboration is generally recognized as a core competency of today’s knowledge economy and has assumed a central role in recent theoretical and technological developments in education research. Teamwork is an important workplace skill but is rarely taught in the classroom, in part because it is difficult to evaluate each student’s work. Thus, what counts as evidence of learning does not correspond to current best practices for teaching, and does not reflect what students are ultimately expected to be able to do with their knowledge.

Read the article

Watch a video about the Teaching Teamwork project.