Embedding in Course Syllabi

The question we are asked all of the time is, "Yes, but how?" Faculty who are unfamiliar with project-based learning or unfamiliar with teaching teaming, understandably are unsure of where and how to embed the teaming curricula into their course syllabi. 

Detailed instructions are below. This should be used as a guide to insert each deliverable you decide to use into the syllabus in order to enhance the teaming experience and support team projects.

Note: many deliverables are optional, and there is more than one way to do some of them.


1.     Learning Style Inventory

  • When: Beginning of semester, before a team is formed; best before the first class
  • What: This is an assessment of a student’s cognitive learning style
  • Why:
    • Allows a student to be self-aware of their learning style and blind spots which in turn allows them to connect to what they have to offer to the design process; allows faculty to form teams with cognitive diversity; allows for a Team Learning Style profile by overlaying Individual Learning Styles
    • Allows a team to profile its Team Learning Style profile by overlaying Individual Learning Styles
    • Allows faculty to form up diverse teams based on Learning Styles & any other differences identified through questions added to the LSI (major, work experience, experience with Arduino,  languages spoken, whatever – faculty & team coach create final survey to be used for each class)   

2.     Individual Profile

  • When: Beginning of semester, before a team is formed but after the Learning Style Inventory
  • What: This is a collage of images that represent aspects of the student’s life that s/he’s willing to share including their learning style
  • Why: Provides a rich prop to accelerate team member’s getting to know each other once the team is formed, and the team to surface differences that can be leveraged for goals, roles, process and relationships

3.     Pecha-Kucha* 

* optional, and only useful in classes where students propose their own projects

  • When: After Learning Style Inventory and Individual Profiles are completed and before teams are formed
  • What: Mini- project proposal presentation, one from each student
  • Why: Helps the students express their own interests and vote on and converge on class projects. Helps teaching staff design teams for diversity.

Note: There are other great ways to organize teams for diversity.  For example, one might use a meeting management program to organize teams based on when students can meet outside of class.


4.     Teaming Lectures and/or Videos

  • When: After teams have formed (through the pecha-kucha or other means)
  • What: In-class lecture and/or videos viewed outside of class.
  • Why: Provides a platform for students to launch their teams; offers background on both teaming (why, what) as well as on the collaborative planning process.

5.     Collaborative Plan (CP)

  • When: Right after teams are formed, after lecture and/or videos above and before major interim deliverable is due (such as a literature review, draft methodology, etc.)
  • What: Is a plan documented through team response to prompts on at CP template, leveraging differences to define their individual and group goals; roles,  process and relationships to drive project completion
    • Note: Before defining goals, roles, process & relationships, the team members should discuss their Learning Style Inventory and/or Individual Profiles, construct a Team Learning Style (by overlaying Individual LSIs) and formulate Individual goals for the Collaborative Plan.
  • Why: Generates a team structure and process for project completion, that can be referred to at each meeting and/or after major milestones and updated as things change.  

6.     Team Pulse

  • When: Half-way between date of team formation & mid-term team assessment. 
  • What: An online 3rd party administered survey that takes 5 minutes to do. Allows the students to quickly and more safely identify gross problem areas for teaching staff.
  • Why:  Provides an early warning & a chance to fix dysfunctions before they freeze into place (students not showing up; showing up late for every meeting, etc.).

7.     Final Assessment - Individual and Team

  • When: After the major final deliverable is due (at end of the semester)
  • What: An online 3rd party administered survey, takes 20 minutes. Each team member assesses the overall team functioning and evaluates their own and other team members’ contributions within the goals, roles, procedures, relationships framework to which they were introduced in the collaborative plan; individual and team feedback highlights areas for individual & team development
  • Why: It helps each team member reflect and provide feedback on what is and what is not working for their team; it helps each individual understand how s/he is showing up on the team; gives the team a basis for discussing needed change

8.     Revised Collaborative Plan (RCP)

  • When: After receiving and reviewing the team assessment feedback as a team
  • What: Revise and update the original team Collaborative Plan to address issues and leverage strengths identified in the assessment
  • Why: Leverage feedback to more effectively move  forward with the project; make midterm adjustments to improve team satisfaction and outcomes