This is a very comprehensive site with a lot of information about teams. The various pages contain definitions, benefits of teamwork, qualities of a functional team, teamwork skills, assessing teams, managing conflict in teams, and virtual teams. This site was developed to demonstrate how to effectively incorporate teamwork into courses, avoid common pitfalls and turn teaming into a valuable learning experience for students.
Major learning goals are focused on learning about teams from the student point of view and from the instructor point of view. The site is designed as a resource to help faculty integrate teamwork into courses and second, it has a component to help students function effectively in a team environment. A user of the website will obtain definitions, additional resources, tips, and other "how-to" points.
Target Student Population:
The target student population is both undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
There is no prerequisite knowledge or skill necessary other than navigating a website.
Type of Material:
The material is lecture/presentation.
This material could be used in a number of ways ranging from a pure informational resource about teams to assisting students in teams to perform optimally. It would be helpful to assign the student module to students prior to beginning teamwork in class. It could be assigned as homework reading or it could be discussed in class.
Evaluation and Observation
The site is comprehensive, simple, and provides resources for additional research applications. It is a great way to introduce team theories to students. This is an excellent module that provides a very informative overview for instructors who are currently or plan in the future to use teams in the classroom. It addresses many of the areas where instructors will be seeking instruction and advice such as: the benefits of teams; addressing complaints; the skills needed; how to assess teamwork; conflict resolution; how to group students into teams; how to start students on projects (this section also provides some start up exercises) and how to track team progress to name just a few areas. Similarly, the module does an excellent job of addressing many of the questions students will have as they begin working in a team especially since for many of them this will be their first experience working in a team. It is especially effective in discussing how students should deal with unproductive/uncooperative team members and how they can address the inevitable conflicts that will arise.
It would be helpful to also post sample team charters or contracts as well as sample evaluation forms. In addition, it would be important to inform the user that team theory is extensive and warrants a great deal more reading than is contained on this site. Because this website is designed by and for Penn State faculty and students it does refer to certain course/information management tools that are available at that school. However, this does not diminish the usefulness of this site as a reference tool for others.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site provides an excellent overview to help students work in teams. It provides excellent advice and information on why teams are beneficial,
how to organize work, how to communicate with team members and how to deal with conflict. The site provides additional references. The site helps students to address the challenge of how to handle poor or non-performing team members. This is a great introduction and overview of teams and lays a strong foundation for expectations for team membership and performance.
The author(s) could perhaps list links to the latest research. Simple cases might also be a good way to illustrate some of the points, particularly about resolving conflict.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Very clear and easy to use. Navigation is a breeze.
Other Issues and Comments:
Very well done and comprehensive discussion of teams. All together, a considerable amount of material about teams. This would be a very useful website to send student teams to for basics about working in teams.