Six mistakes to avoid when assigning team writing projects

Don’t let students divide the work by sections of the research report

Don’t let students choose their own teams

Don’t let students figure out the challenges of team writing on their own

“While doing the research for project two, I had to consult with my teammates several times and get help from them. That was the nice thing about working in a team, it forced me to communicate and ask questions, which helped me to learn much more, even if I thought I was pestering people too much. Overall it was a great learning experience for me.”

“I was expressing my issues to Matt and Parker. Both members added that they were having similar issues and we worked out our problems together.”

“My confidence was reinforced when Owen and I were working together on the Feasibility Report. As we worked together, I found myself finding little issues that I likely would have overlooked before this class. Still lacking confidence, I would bounce ideas off Owen and a majority of the time I was on the right track. Similar situations with other team-mates reinforced that I had made some major improvements in both structure and synthesis.”

Don’t forget about the value of peer review

“My teammates made team writing very enjoyable since each of us made quality comments on our work in order to come up with the best product we could.”

“I appreciated the feedback I received from my teammates during peer review. By reviewing other students’ documents, I was able to assess my own progress and incorporate their ideas into my work.”

“Organization is one of my personal strengths throughout my life, so being able to utilize that skill within my peer review in a way that I hadn’t experienced before was very refreshing. I initially thought this role was a bit of a “filler” role, as genre and structure can both be very vague terms. However, through project two, I very quickly found out that it was quite the opposite. Simply making sure that the essay was following the guidelines/prompt, and ensuring that each teammate was contributing to each section was highly important.”

“I also really appreciated how my group was willing to help each other whenever any of us had a question or someone felt like they were not completing their peer review portion correctly. For example, I can think of a time when we were in our Zoom breakout room and one of my group members was revising the genre/structure and asked for group feedback. After asking for feedback we were able to recognize that this group member was correcting the captions and in-text citations wrong. We were able to fix this mistake as a group and we all gained knowledge how to use genre and structure correctly.”

Don’t assume students know how to provide useful feedback

“When my group was assigning roles for peer review, the one that I ended up with was Genre/Structure. I would’ve initially preferred the role of Review/Editing, but I’m happy that I was able to learn more about this role instead. In my week one essay I expressed my confidence in editing, but the beauty of the roles in this course is that each one holds/shares traits of the general proofreading and revision process that I enjoy. Through practicing this role in project two, I would easily say that it became the role that I am now most confident with.”

Don’t give a team grade only

The takeaways

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