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Student Conceptions of group work: Drawing the group


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Presentation delivered at the University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching conference 7th January 2016. Preliminary results from a research project using the "Draw and write technique" to understand student opinions of and conceptions of group work carried out in a University context.

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Student Conceptions of group work: Drawing the group

  1. 1. Pamela McKinney @ischoolpam Chloe Cook: Undergraduate student in the Economics department
  2. 2. Introduction  Motivations for the study  An Arts Informed visual research methodology using the Draw-and-Write technique  Selected results  Questions
  3. 3. Motivations
  4. 4. Motivations Group work does not always go smoothly:  Variable levels of commitment  Freeloading  Personality clashes  Enhanced admin & teaching work if groups encounter problems  Often we assess the product of group work while knowing very little about the process of group work
  5. 5. What conceptions do students have about working in groups? How can we better support students in their group work? Research questions:
  6. 6. Arts Informed Visual Research Methodology: the draw and write technique Dr Jenna Hartel, Associate Professor, University of Toronto
  7. 7. The isquare corpus: conceptions of information
  8. 8. Data Collection  Data collected in 2014-15 from students in the Information School  1 x Undergraduate module and 3 x Postgraduate modules: 164 isquares collected (12 x UG; 152 x PG)  Students had all experienced group work as part of their Information School course, and may have had prior experiences in other courses/institutions  Large number of international students
  9. 9. SURE: Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience • SURE scheme funds a 2nd year undergraduate student to work on a research project with an academic for 6 weeks in the summer vacation • I recruited 2nd year BSc Economic student Chloe Cook • Chloe made exact replicas of each isquare, undertook compositional, content and thematic analysis. Interviewed students, transcribed & analysed the interviews
  10. 10. Data Analysis  Compositional interpretation using categories defined by Engelhardt (2002)  Content Analysis  Thematic analysis  Theoretical analysis
  11. 11. Motif/Graphic representation Number Stick figure 82 Arrows 59 Circles 53 Table/Desk 26 Thought/Speech Bubbles 26 Paper/Writing 18 Technology 16 Reading/Books 13 Hands 10 Building/Structure 8 Parts/Puzzles 7 Question Mark 5 Lightbulb 4 Whiteboard 4 Trees 4
  12. 12. Figures around Table/Desk
  13. 13. Use of Laptops/Technology
  14. 14. Multiple information inputs / outputs
  15. 15. Paper/Writing
  16. 16. Hands/holding hands
  17. 17. Question mark
  18. 18. Lightbulb
  19. 19. Buildings/structures
  20. 20. Parts/Puzzles
  21. 21. Circles
  22. 22. Leader role/Hierarchy
  23. 23. The ‘process’/stages of group work
  24. 24. Negativity
  25. 25. Different Cultures/Languages
  26. 26. ‘Freeloading’
  27. 27. Positivity
  28. 28. Summary  Face-to-face working is an important part group work  Students work creatively with various technology and non-technology based tools and information inputs and outputs  Free-loading and communication problems are significant barriers to effective group working, although students may not be sympathetic to outside commitments  The drawings reveal interesting conceptions of group work i.e. “solving a puzzle” and “building”  Students can view group work as a process, and a set of defined stages  Some students see a need to have a hierarchical group structure with a named leader and specific group roles  Although negative views about groups are expressed, many of the drawings present a reasonably positive view of group work.
  29. 29. Reflections  An interesting and quick way to collect data  Prompts students to reflect on their experiences with group work  A way to identify sources of problems in groups (e.g. language & communication)  A way to stimulate discussions about group work with students
  30. 30. Questions?
  31. 31. References  Engelhardt, Y. (2002). The language of graphics: A framework for the analysis of syntax and meaning in maps, charts and diagrams. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Hartel (2014) An arts-informed study of information using the draw-and-write technique. Journal of the Association for Information Science & technology 65 (7)  Weber, S., & Mitchell, C.A. (1995). That’s Funny You Don’t Look Like a Teacher: Interrogating Images and Identity in Popular Culture. Routledge: London.