Jones & Bartlett Learning Health Blog

    Teamwork in Online Courses: How Can We Encourage Effective Participation?

    Posted by sharonb on May 7, 2012 3:00:50 AM

    Why does the thought of teamwork assignments make entire classes of students and professors cringe? Despite years of research and numerous articles emphasizing the need for teamwork experiences in higher education, few instructors have been formally educated in methods to teach teamwork. There are even fewer courses devoted exclusively to teamwork, despite some excellent texts (Freshman, Rubino, & Chassiakos, 2009). Many of us stumble along, and, if we are lucky, find mentors who have years of experience in classroom teamwork assignments. I was fortunate to have colleagues who believed in the need for teamwork for our discipline, even when many other faculty members found it too frustrating to deal with.

    We shouldn't wait until people are in post-graduate programs to introduce them to applied teamwork (Nash, 2008; Newell, 1990). That road leads to disappointment. Habits of doing everything alone have been instilled and teaching teamwork must undo many of these "I can do it all" or "I should do it all" attitudes. Teamwork education must begin at the undergraduate level and continue through graduate school and beyond (Drake, Goldsmith, & Strachan, 2006; Lerner, Magrane, & Friedman, 2009). Once employed, our graduates will be judged by their supervisors and colleagues on their ability to be team players. In healthcare, lives literally depend on good teamwork (Sehgal, Fox, Vidyarthi, Sharpe, Gearhart, Bookwalter, Baker, Aldredge, Blegen, & Wachter, 2008).

    So, how can instructors encourage effective teamwork participation in the online environment? Here are some tried and true methods I have used you can apply to your courses.

    • Post a syllabus that explicitly addresses the value of teamwork and the rubrics by which students will be judged. Students want and deserve to know what they need to do to achieve their educational goals in a course. The proportion of their grade for the course related to teamwork should be meaningful. One to five percent of a course grade is not adequate to motivate students to actively engage in teamwork. A bare minimum of ten percent of the course grade should be assigned to the team projects. In addition, for teamwork, they should be judged by their peers, not only by the instructor. There are a number of teamwork rubrics; I happen to like the one I created with my colleagues (Buchbinder, Cox & Casciani, 2012, p. 374). The tool addresses key criteria for successful team players, including: attendance, preparation, collaboration and goal identification, active participation, open-mindedness and willingness to modify opinions, concise presentation of ideas, timely submission of assignments, respectful and considerate interactions with teammates, fulfillment of responsibilities and active work on achievement of group consensus. Used as an Excel file, students can easily total up the scores. Students are required to explain why they gave a teammate a score of under 3 or over 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.  They must also indicate whether they would work with this person again (Yes/No) (Buchbinder, Cox & Casciani, 2012, p. 374).
    • Establish ground rules for netiquette. Most universities have guidelines for student civility and for respectful online interaction with instructors and peers. Place these guidelines in your syllabus and separately in your online course, and make a point of referring students to these documents. If a student behaves inappropriately later on, he or she cannot claim ignorance.
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    Topics: administration, author, health administration, Health Administration, health care management, health professionals, Online Learning, Sharon B. Buchbinder, teamwork, Health care, Sharon Buchbinder Blog

    New Online Course Facilitates Undergraduate Public Health Instruction

    Posted by admin on Apr 5, 2012 9:30:37 AM

    Navigate Public Health 101 Combines Proven Textbook Content with Interactive Learning Exercises and Course Management Tools

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    Topics: public health education, Richard K. Riegelman, Author, Navigate Public Health 101, Online Learning, Public Health, interactive learning, Public health management, assignment management, automated grading, course content scheduling, course management, exportable grade book

    When Student Learning Styles and Courses Misalign: Can this Marriage be Saved?

    Posted by sharonb on Apr 2, 2012 3:00:25 AM

    Higher education instilled most of us with the belief that it is the instructor's responsibility to provide an optimum learning experience to ensure student success. This aspiration includes the written or unwritten directive for instructors to offer courses that provide a variety of opportunities for students with different learning styles to acquire knowledge. However, outside of academia, students may be confronted with educational offerings that do not conform to this belief system. Are we doing a disservice to our students with our idealistic, tailor made approach to education?

    Kinshuk, Liu and Graf (2009) conducted a study of students' performance in courses misaligned with their learning styles.  After assessing the students' learning styles using the Active/Reflective, Sensing/Intuitive, and Sequential/Global scales of the Felder-Silverman Learning Style Model (FSLSM) (they did not utilize the Visual/Verbal scale), the authors assigned students to courses not matched with their learning styles. In the FSLSM model, which has been modified since the original research in 1988, active learners prefer hands on activities; reflective learners prefer to think about the material. Sensing learners like facts; intuitive learners like relationships and possibilities. Sequential learners prefer learning one thing at a time; global learners have leaps of insight. Visual learners prefer picture, graphs and charts; verbal learners prefer words. Kinshuk and colleagues evaluated student performance with a final exam to examine gained knowledge. They found students who had a "strong preference for at least one of the three learning style dimensions had significantly lower scores on the final exam than learners with no strong preference for any learning style dimension" (Kinshuk, Liu and Graf, 2009, p. 744).

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    Topics: administration, Author, Educational Technology, health administration, Health Administration, health care management, learning styles, Online Learning, Sharon B. Buchbinder, teaching methods, Sharon Buchbinder Blog

    JBL Launches NEW Engaging Online Courseware - Navigate Nutrition

    Posted by admin on Nov 7, 2011 1:43:11 PM

    Navigate Nutrition is an easy-to-use, stable, and service-supported online learning platform that seamlessly combines authoritative textbook content with interactive activities, outcomes-based assessments, and robust reporting tools that enable instructors to track real-time student progress.

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    Topics: Health Science, navigate, New text, nutrition, Online Learning, nutrition

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