Event Title

Team-Based Learning: Bridging the Gap from Classroom Discussion to Community Engagement in Undergraduate Hydrology Courses

Presenter Information

Steven Emerman

Location

ECC 201/203 & 205/207

Event Website

https://water.usu.edu/htm/conference/2013conference

Start Date

9-4-2013 3:55 PM

End Date

9-4-2013 4:05 PM

Description

Much recent practice of and scholarship on effective team-based learning has focused on the following principles: 1) Students should work in permanent (semester-long) teams. 2) All team problem-solving and discussion should occur in the classroom. 3) Teams should be expected to agree on a single solution to an assigned problem. The last principle is often regarded as the key principle of effective team-based learning as it forces the team members to fully interact with one another and does not allow them to divide-and-conquer a problem. In my three-semester hydrology sequence the students are expected to work in teams to solve a problem related to water supply, water quality or water conservation in cooperation with a community partner. Although these community engagement projects should involve semester-long terms, they also have the following aspects that could be in conflict with effective team-based learning: 1) Much of the teamwork (discussions with community partners, data and sample collection in the field, sample analysis in the laboratory) must occur outside of the classroom. 2) In most cases, the community partner is not asking for a single solution, but a range of options with associated costs and advantages and disadvantages. Over the past five years, I have noticed the following recurring problems with some team-based hydrology community engagement projects: 1) Semester projects are not pursued in earnest until near the end of the semester. 2) Levels of contribution by various team members are very uneven. 3) Students switch teams or do not join teams until late in the semester. The last problem is related to course attrition, which can cause some teams to partially or completely vanish. Although I have 30 years of professional experience in team problem-solving, I believe that, at the present time, very little of my experience is being transmitted to the students. My experience is that effective team problem-solving includes the following: 1) Face-to-face meetings must be kept to an absolute minimum. 2) Someone must take on the role of coordinator. 3) A project must be broken into a large number of minor tasks with clearly stated deadlines and responsible team members. In Spring 2013 I am re-organizing team-based community engagement projects in Hydrology I and Hydrology II in the following way: 1) Teams are being fully formed on the first day of class. 2) About 30 minutes of each 4.5 hour class is being spent on team meetings. 3) I am initially acting as coordinator of each team and gradually passing that responsibility on to another member of the team. The Hydrology II class will be surveyed as to how their present team-based community engagement experience compares with their experience in Hydrology I. Results will be reported at the meeting.

 
Apr 9th, 3:55 PM Apr 9th, 4:05 PM

Team-Based Learning: Bridging the Gap from Classroom Discussion to Community Engagement in Undergraduate Hydrology Courses

ECC 201/203 & 205/207

Much recent practice of and scholarship on effective team-based learning has focused on the following principles: 1) Students should work in permanent (semester-long) teams. 2) All team problem-solving and discussion should occur in the classroom. 3) Teams should be expected to agree on a single solution to an assigned problem. The last principle is often regarded as the key principle of effective team-based learning as it forces the team members to fully interact with one another and does not allow them to divide-and-conquer a problem. In my three-semester hydrology sequence the students are expected to work in teams to solve a problem related to water supply, water quality or water conservation in cooperation with a community partner. Although these community engagement projects should involve semester-long terms, they also have the following aspects that could be in conflict with effective team-based learning: 1) Much of the teamwork (discussions with community partners, data and sample collection in the field, sample analysis in the laboratory) must occur outside of the classroom. 2) In most cases, the community partner is not asking for a single solution, but a range of options with associated costs and advantages and disadvantages. Over the past five years, I have noticed the following recurring problems with some team-based hydrology community engagement projects: 1) Semester projects are not pursued in earnest until near the end of the semester. 2) Levels of contribution by various team members are very uneven. 3) Students switch teams or do not join teams until late in the semester. The last problem is related to course attrition, which can cause some teams to partially or completely vanish. Although I have 30 years of professional experience in team problem-solving, I believe that, at the present time, very little of my experience is being transmitted to the students. My experience is that effective team problem-solving includes the following: 1) Face-to-face meetings must be kept to an absolute minimum. 2) Someone must take on the role of coordinator. 3) A project must be broken into a large number of minor tasks with clearly stated deadlines and responsible team members. In Spring 2013 I am re-organizing team-based community engagement projects in Hydrology I and Hydrology II in the following way: 1) Teams are being fully formed on the first day of class. 2) About 30 minutes of each 4.5 hour class is being spent on team meetings. 3) I am initially acting as coordinator of each team and gradually passing that responsibility on to another member of the team. The Hydrology II class will be surveyed as to how their present team-based community engagement experience compares with their experience in Hydrology I. Results will be reported at the meeting.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/runoff/2013/AllPosters/19