A Real World Writing Project Integrating Mobile Technology and Team Based Learning
Overview of the Project
This is a project I introduced to my Composition I classes in Fall 2015. Rather than a traditional Informative Essay, the project was designed to meet Course Outcomes while giving students the added challenge of working in teams and with new technology. As first semester freshmen, this project helped these students acculturate with the campus while building a network of peer collaborators.
Working in teams of five, students were tasked with creating one-hour, themed walking tours of Auburn’s campus using Google Maps. Teams were responsible for collaborating to decide the audience, destinations, and design features of the map, while individuals composed the content that pops up when you click on a map point. Instead of an essay read only by me, teams submitted a URL to a custom Google Map that traces a walkable route through the campus with five destinations, each consisting of an informative article augmented by content from Auburn’s Digital Library. In designing the project, I collaborated with IT specialist, Wiebke Kuhn, and Auburn Digital Library Curator, Midge Coates.
Links to Auburn Campus One Hour Walking Tours created by Students
In addition to conducting peer reviews on Project II in class, we began with a 6 question Self-Reflection assignment. I asked them what constitutes good writing, what they have learned so far in the course, what they can do to improve in this class, what they can do to improve as a student in all their classes, what piece of advice would they give an incoming student about how to succeed in this course, and what they thought about Team Based Learning. Their responses to this question, in particular, blew me away. Not only were there positive responses across the board, but they were backed with more specific and insightful reflections than the other questions elicited. I’m sharing some because they make a compelling argument for the positive outcomes of Team Based Learning in the Composition classroom, and I hope it might inspire others to try this approach. ————————————————————————————————————————- I have a pretty strong work ethic, but when my group depends on me, I put even more pressure on myself.
I have learned, to my surprise, that I thoroughly enjoy working in groups in an English class setting. I usually do not ask peers for writing help in English but it has been a welcomed change.
I never really had the opportunity to show myself that I have leadership qualities until this class.
I am learning how to work in a group.
You have to pull your weight in every project and so does everyone else or it doesn’t work.
My communication skills are excellent with people that are similar to me and share the same background as I do. I have learned at Auburn that you won’t always be around people with your same background.
Attend class everyday because your group counts on you and your presence is vital.
We always did peer review in high school but it was more or less just letting someone make a couple marks on your paper and hand it back. It was not as hands on and personal as this is and this has taught me how much I do like to work with others.
I feel very proud of myself for being able to work in a group and be able to depend on others to do their part.
I have learned that it takes a maximum amount of effort from each person individually to work well as team.
I have also learned that it is easier to comprehend an assignment when you have four other people you are constantly in touch with. They are there to reach out to if I need help, rather than going directly to the professor.
When working with a group, sometimes decisions are not easily made because everyone is trying to please each other.
For this project I have had to be a vocal leader.
When we were placed in groups I became nervous about this class for two reasons. The first being I didn’t not know the work ethic of the members in my group. The second being I didn’t know how good of writers they are. After much communication I have realized they all work hard and are good writers as well.
Teamwork and collaboration has made me come to enjoy working with others despite the fact that there may be more conflict.
I have learned that even when working in a team just as much effort needs to be put forth.
I have learned that I work better with a group, when I know that I have other people’s grades in my concern. My learning style is very kinesthetic and hands on, which is why I enjoy working on projects. I have also learned that the more papers and essays that you write, your work starts to slowly get better each time.
I have learned that I actually enjoy working with other people. That’s honestly a big deal to me.