Your team will have a number of responsibilities as it completes problem sets and laboratory assignments.
For each assignment designate:
3) Monitor and Checker for each assignment.
Rotate these roles for every assignment.
Agree on a common meeting time and what each member should have done before the meeting by way of preparation.
Do the required individual preparation. Each team member should attempt to outline the solution of each problem before the team meets and arrive at the meeting with this outline prepared to work with the team to solve the problem.
Coordinator checks with other team members before the meeting to remind them of when and where they will meet and what they are supposed to do.
Meet and work. Coordinator keeps everyone on task and makes sure everyone is involved, recorder prepares final solution to be turned in, the monitor makes sure everyone understands both the solution and the strategy used to get it, and checker checks the final solution for accuracy and turns it in by the due date and time. If the checker anticipates a problem turning the assignment in by 4:00pm on the due date (see syllabus for due dates) it is his/her responsibility to make sure someone turns it in. Agree on next meeting time and roles for next assignment.
Note to monitors: If you ask people if they understand something and they say yes, you've learned nothing. To check for understanding in a way that means something, ask for an explanation. If someone on a team misses a problem on a test that is very much like a homework problem, the monitor has not done his/her job.
Review returned assignments. Make sure everyone understands why points were lost and how to correct errors.
Complete and submit peer rating sheets for all team members when required. Ratings will be collected near midterm and near the end of the semester. They will be confidential, and will be used to adjust homework grades for every student.
Consult with your instructor if a conflict arises that can't be worked through by the team.
If a team member refuses to cooperate on an assignment, his/her name should not be included on the completed work. If the non-cooperation continues, the team should meet with the course instructor so that the problem can be resolved, if possible. If no resolution is achieved, the cooperating team members may notify the uncooperative member in writing that he/she is in danger of being fired, sending a copy of the memo to the course instructor. If there is no subsequent improvement, they should notify the individual in writing (copy to their instructor) that he/she is no longer with the team. The fired student should meet with his/her instructor to discuss options.
Similarly, students who are consistently doing all the work for their team may issue a warning memo (copy to instructor) that they will quit unless more cooperation is forthcoming, and a second memo (copy to instructor) if the non-cooperation continues. The student who quits should meet with his/her instructor to discuss options.
Students who are fired or who quit must find a team of willing to accept them as a member and have the team change approved by the instructor, otherwise they get zeroes for the remaining assignments.
As you will find out, group work isn't always easy: team members sometimes cannot prepare for or attend group sessions because of other responsibilities, and conflicts often result from differing skill levels and work ethics. When teams work and communicate well, however, the benefits more than compensate for the difficulties. One way to improve the chances that a team will work well is to agree beforehand on what everyone on the team expects from everyone else. Reaching this agreement is the goal of the following assignment.
1Adapted from R. M. Felder and R. Brent