Using Teamwork in an Online Class: Five Successful Strategies

Leanne Chun (Leeward Community College, US)
Lani Uyeno (Leeward Community College, US)
Session Information
July 27, 2012 - 9:40am
Faculty and Student Development
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Applied Use (technology or pedagogy)
Institutional Level: 
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Casanova 504
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes

How can we get our teams to be successful in online courses?

Extended Abstract

This presentation will highlight an online introductory computer science course's use of teamwork with video highlights from other online STEM courses.

Context & Problem
Employers are looking for college graduates who demonstrate teamwork and collaboration skills, but how do we help students develop these skills in online courses?

One approach is to include teamwork as a requirement in an online course. But how does the instructor handle problems with students who do not want to be on a team or refuse to communicate or participate with their teams? What about the opposite problem: students who take over the team? How do you work with someone who does not want to take on the role of leader? What if the team produces poor work or does not plan properly?

Approach to Successful Teamwork
Audience will be asked to pair-share their experiences of using teams in online classes, including what has worked well and problems they have faced. Out of this discussion, we will share the following:

Five strategies for successful teamwork in online classes will be shared, including the following:
Sharing clear expectations with the teams
Preparing students for the experience
Facilitating team communication
Meeting with the teams
Providing assessment

In groups of four, session participants will come up with a sixth strategy.

In the introductory computer science course, data for the last five years has been tracked with online teamwork being introduced in year 3. Retention, Success and Withdrawal rates and quality of student work will be summarized, analyzed, and results presented.

Lead Presenter

Leanne Chun, Professor, Leeward Community College, 96-045 Ala Ike, Pearl City, HI  96782, 808-455-0676, 808-455-0473,, Leanne Chun is the Educational Media Center Coordinator at Leeward CC where she oversees Distance Learning, Technology Training, and Video Production. She has a bachelors of Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a masters degree in Educational Technology from University of Hawaii, Manoa. She has been working to enhance education with the use of technology for over ten years. She has been teaching Computer Science online for the last five years. She uses Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in her online course to encourage students to work collaboratively in teams, use critical thinking, and learn real-world skills.

Lani Uyeno, Professor, Leeward Community College, 96-045 Ala Ike, Pearl City, HI  96782, 808-455-0424, 808-455-0473,, Lani Uyeno teaches writing and reading at Leeward CC.  She has both bachelors and masters degrees in English Education from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has taught developmental and college-level reading and writing courses for 30+ years.  Her English 211 course, Autobiographical Writing, is a Problem-Based Learning course in which students are interns at an online company that provides support to memoir writers.