Collaborative Learning

Group Activities

Our research shows that students learn more and generally prefer to work with other students to complete in-class activities. Students will complete group activities every Tuesday, either during lecture time (section N at 12:30pm) or at another designated time selected by the group (section M). The required group activities (couting towards grade) will start on week 3. We will have practice group actitivies online via Zoom during the first two weeks of classes.

Section N: in-person

All students will complete the group activity during lecture time (12:30pm-1:45pm) from CIF 35. Attendance is required (you must bring your I-Card to class). We may switch some of the classes to online format. For example, we will meet online via Zoom during the first two weeks of classes. All the other changes will be announced via CampusWire. It is your responsibility to stay up-to-date with the course announcements posted on CampusWire. When meeting online, section N students should use this Zoom link (Tuesdays or Thursdays at 12:30pm): Zoom link (Section N)

Section M: online

Students will complete the group activity on Tuesdays at a time of their choice (see more information below). Groups that select the 2pm slot will connect to this Zoom link: Zoom link (Section M). We will use the same link for the demo lectures on Thursdays at 2pm.

Schedule and Group Formation

Week 1: Mock group activity - GA0

We will have a mock GA on Thursday, to make sure all students are familar with this format of class activity. Groups will be randomly assigned to Zoom breakout rooms. This is a great opportunity to meet other students in the class.

Week 2: GA1 (attendance not required)

We will again randomly assign students to Zoom breakout rooms. This GA is not for points, but it is a great opportunity to get familiarized with Jupyter notebooks and Python programming language.

Starting from Week 3: required attendance

During the first two weeks, students will have the opportunity to select their groups using PrairieLearn Survey 1: Select your group and time to meet (not for credit). Students that do not make their selections will be placed at random groups.

You will be able to check your assigned group and breakout room number on Monday Jan 31 via PrairieLearn Survey 2: Find out your assigned group FOR GA2-GA7 (not for credit).

Group formation:

Students will be able to select their own groups, under the constraint that each group should have 2-4 students. We will open a survey on Thursday first week of classes that will ask students to submit their group selection. This survey will be closed on Friday at the end of the second week of classes. In case you don't know anyone in the class, you will have the opportunity to meet other students during GA0 and GA1, when we randomly place students in groups. You can also use CampusWire to find teammates.

Students that are not included in any group after the survey is closed will be randomly placed at a group.

Starting from week 3, students will be assigned to pre-defined groups. The groups will be fixed from weeks 3-8 (corresponding GA2-GA7) and then again from weeks 9-15 (GA8-13), with the option that groups can elect to stay the same for both cycles.

Attendance and support (starting from week 3)

Section N (12:30pm at CIF 35):

Each group will find a table to meet. There are 8 seats in each table. For in-person collaboration, we encourage groups of 2 or 3 students, since this formation makes it easier for students to look at each other's laptop screen. ATTENDANCE is required for the in-person section. Students that prefer an asynchronous experience and prefer to not be required to attend lectures at a designated time should register in the online section.

Section M (asynchronous):

Each group will select the time and location they want to meet. Students in section M will be able to complete the GA at anytime on Tuesday between 9am and 11:59pm. They will also be able to decide if they prefer to meet online or in-person. There is no requirement to attend a Zoom section at a designated time!

The only requirement is that all group members should complete the GA at the same time collaboratively. To provide help during these activities, we will have several Zoom sessions happening on Tuesdays from 10am to 9pm (see table below). Your group can join any of these Zoom meetings to get assistance - we will have breakout rooms, so your team can complete the GA from there. Note that every team member who has joined the PrairieLearn GA will need to be at the Zoom meeting to request help - you cannot just send one person to the zoom meeting (remember, this is a collaborative learning experience).

Support Zoom sessions for GA (section M only): You are not required to attend any of these sessions. However, we encourage every group to select a time that works for all team members, and attend the corresponding Zoom meeting. The 2pm Zoom session will mimic the same environment of the 12:30pm in-person section: the class instructor will be there, as well as at least 7 other course assistants, to provide the needed guidance during the activity using the Queue.

The above GA support schedule starts on week 3. On week 2, all students from section M are strongly encouraged to attend the 2pm Zoom meeting.

PrairieLearn grading system

Students in each group will work together to complete an assignment delivered using a combination of PrairieLearn and Jupyter notebooks. The assignment (and corresponding) score is shared among all the members of the group that participated in the activity.

Completion (9% of the grade):

This is the PrairieLearn score you get from completing your GA assessment. You will be able to see this score in PrairieLearn under the label GA#, given in percent (0-100%). The lowest 2 scores will be dropped (out of the 12 GAs that count for points).

Note that students that join the group assignment at the beginning of the class but do not participate in the activity (based on log data from PrairieLearn) will not receive the group score at the end of the semester, once the grades are computed, and all the log data is analyzed. In addition, we may report students for academic integrity violation, if we conclude a student joined the group work just to get the score, but did not participate in the activity.

Participation (2% of the grade):

Students in each group will have assigned roles to facilitate collaborations. You are expected to be a helpful member of your team and participate in a variety of team roles. There are three team roles: manager, recorder, and reflector.

  1. Recorder: Responsible for being the main “driver,” entering most of the answers in PrairieLearn. However, other members of the team can also contribute by completing some of the notebook cells. The recorder is also expected to share their screen during the zoom meeting. This will help facilitating the discussions, and also provide a venue for staff members (that will be rotating between rooms) to interact with the teams.
  2. Manager: Responsible for coordinating efforts of the team and making sure that all team members are contributing. For example, if a team member is silent for a while, it is the manager’s role to check in on the team member. The manager needs to make sure members of the team are working together to construct their answers. This is NOT a divide-and-conquer activity! The manager will also be the one to first create the PrairieLearn assessment, and share the "Join code" with the other members of the team. The manager is responsible for completing the survey regarding the role assignments for that week.
  3. Reflector: Responsible for making sure that all team members understand what’s going on. For example, the reflector might ask whether each team member understands the problem before moving on to the next problem. The reflector is responsible for completing a short survey at the end of each group assessment, including questions about team participation and the content of the activity.

During each cycle (half-semesters with fixed groups), students are expected to participate in each of the group roles at least once, and teams are encouraged to rotate these roles each week. At the end of the semester, we will compute the following participation score for each cycle:

cycle# = (manager_participation + recorder_participation + reflector_participation)/3

where role_participation is 100% if the student participated in that role during the cycle, and 0% otherwise. There will be a total of 2 scores for participation (two cycles), and no drops. They will combined contribute to 2% of your final grade.

It is the student responsibility to check if they have satisfied the requirements above to get the participation points. The roles are self-reported in PrairieLearn for each GA, and all students have access to this information. We will not be making changes to individual grades at the end of the semester, because students forgot to track their participation roles durind the course.

Gallery with Trivia Questions

Check this page to see the results from the icebreaker Questions added in GAs (certification of completion).