Team-based projects are continuous group assessment tasks that encourage students to work collaboratively towards a common goal and cultivate work-related skills.
What is it?
Team-based projects are student-led group assessment tasks. Students collaborate with their peers in making decisions, solving problems, or producing an artifact or a performance. Based on the subject matter, students’ outputs can range from an oral presentation or a student-led conference to a website or a software program. Irrespective of the output, it is critical that students work together as a team towards a common goal and coordinate their roles and responsibilities throughout the process. To create an authentic professional environment and help students build their work-related skillset, it is important to incentivise regular team check-ins and use authentic communication channels (e.g., Microsoft Teams). Team-based projects work well when teams are explicitly taught project management, conflict resolution and other teamwork skills, and have time to foster productive relationships.
Why is it useful
Benefits for students
- Promotes peer-learning through a development of purposeful cohort-connections
- Gives students an authentic teamwork experience building their work-readiness
- Allows students to draw on lateral skills and competencies in a subject-specific context
- Builds self-efficacy and work-readiness through a simulation of a professional working environment.
Benefits for educators
- If designed well, requires minimal intervention from you to facilitate peer-learning and meaningful learning experiences.
How do I implement it?
To implement team-based projects in your teaching, try these strategies:
- Consider an optimal team size based on the assessment task. Smaller teams reduce opportunities for free riding while larger teams allow for complex tasks to be undertaken. All teams don’t have to be the same size, but it is recommended that they range between three to six students.
- Form the teams based on your knowledge of students’ interests and skillsets. It is important to ensure a diversity of skillsets, interests, and perspectives in each team. Use the first couple of weeks of the semester to gather as much information as possible about your students through icebreakers and other types of activities that give students a chance to express their interests and use a wide range of skills.
- Foster productive team relationships by giving students the tools to develop efficient and organised ways of working together. For example, you can get students to sign a contract at the beginning of the process and commit to different roles and responsibilities. Templates for setting up team ground rules, taking meeting minutes and tracking project progress can also help for the teams to stay on track.
- Track team progress by giving them class time to check in and receive feedback on their progress from you and their peers. This will give you an opportunity to address any team-related issues. Progress check-ins can also form a part of the assessment task with small marks assigned for meeting these milestones successfully.
- Incorporate a peer-review component for the teams to see how other projects are progressing or what their outputs turned out to be. Exercises like this can be a great way to give the teams formative feedback before the final project output is due or celebrate the project completion at a symposium-like event where the teams get to review each other’s outputs.
- Manage free-riding and ensure participation from all team members by introducing an individual assessment component to evaluate each member’s contribution. Alternatively, you can add group member evaluation as a group work component for students to assess their peers’ contributions to the collective group effort. This increases student’s personal investment in the task.
- LMS Assignments allow you to set up group assignments based on the LMS Groups and facilitate assignment submission, marking, and feedback. Students can submit their team outputs through a text entry, a file upload, a media recording, or a URL.
- LMS Groups can facilitate collaborative work. Students can be arranged in groups manually, randomly or by self-selection. LMS Groups not only allow students to submit their work as a group and receive feedback either collectively or on their individual contributions, but also work collaboratively online. Each group gets their own online workspace within the LMS to self-manage their group, use group discussions, create Wikis and collaborative documents.
- FeedbackFruits can support a structured delivery of team-based projects. It is a user-friendly platform that synchronises with the LMS groups and includes tools for self-assessment, peer review, skills review, and group member evaluation. Team members can confidentially assess individual members’ contributions, including their own, via the member evaluation tool or use the peer review tool to assess the work of other groups. FeedbackFruits allows you to create a review structure for students to follow and ensure that self-assessment, member evaluation and/or peer review is structured and focused on the relevant criteria.In addition, FeedbackFruits supports peer learning activities which can form a part of a team-based projects. For example, students can work collaboratively to review, annotate, and discuss documents, including audio and video files.
- Collaborative documents can be set up in LMS for teams to collaborate on Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides or Visio graphics.
- Microsoft Teams facilitates collaborative work. Student teams can use Microsoft Teams as their shared workspace to communicate and track their progress
- Padlet and LMS Discussions support multimodal project outputs and give student teams a platform to share their progress. For example, video recordings can be uploaded on a Padlet or an LMS Discussion forum to review and discuss. This can facilitate draft peer reviews prior to the final submission and a provision of formative feedback.
- Academic Skills, University of Melbourne. Working in groups.
- Cochrane, T. (2020). A guide to designing authentic online collaboration. Melbourne CSHE Teaching and Learning Short Guide Series, University of Melbourne.
- Instructure Community. What assignment types can I create in a course?
- Learning Management System, University of Melbourne. (2022, July). Working with collaborative documents in Canvas LMS.
- Learning Management System, University of Melbourne (2022, April). Wikis in the LMS.
- Learning Management System, University of Melbourne. FeedbackFruits.
- Nelson, K. J., Kift, S. M., Creagh, T. A., & Quinn, C. (2007). Teamwork Protocol: Enhancing transition at QUT: A student centred approach to learning. Queensland University of Technology.
- Vaughan B., Yoxall J. & Grace S. (2019). Peer assessment of teamwork in group projects: Evaluation of a rubric. Issues in Educational Research, 29 (3), 961-978.
This page was last updated on 17 Oct 2022.
Please report any errors on this page to our website maintainers