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"Group Dynamics and Collaborative Group Performance"

Authors: Anthony Joseph, and Mabel Payne

This article presented the investigation of groupwork activities in two undergraduate courses as supporting the hypothesis that the more a student participates in out-of-class collaborative academic group activity, the greater the student's achievement. (I'm not sure by looking at the tables but that may require further analysis of the data presented).

Within the two classes in question, "collaborative learning groups" were formed to aid the students in learning their material. The author mentions a particular teaching technique called "integrative cooperative learning teaching technique" which integrates lecture-based inquiry and cooperative learning. A "cooperative" group is defined as a special kind of group which is small (2-4 members).

In this teaching technique, groups were encouraged and expected to meet outside the classroom to discuss their work. Students could nominate who they wished to be within their group but final group assignments were made by the professor. Group members were picked so that learning styles within the group would be consistent but the group would be heteregeneous with respect to other factors, like ethnicity, gender, computer-related work experience, etc. This particular heterogeneity was kept to enable or ensure interdependencies between group members. Additionally, group coordinators were assigned on a rotational basis and had to hand in a written assessment to the professor at the end of their term. Also, all students were required to keep a journal of their course-related activities which they submitted to the Professor at the end of the semester.

The classes were divided into day and evening groups. In this particular study, the evening classes met more frequently outside of class and "engaged in more comprehensive group tasks". The evening classes also appeared to do better academically than the day classes.

Another interesting note: In the introduction, the article discussed how "a group (was) defined by the interactions of its members." ".. The behavior of any small group can be characterized by four time-dependent variables: intensity of interaction, level of friendliness, amount of activity members execute, and the amount of imposed activity".

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