University of Missouri-St. Louis

UMSL English Department


English 313

Group Work

Working effectively in groups has become essential in all parts of life, especially in the organizational setting.   Teamwork often combines individual strengths to effectively work towards a goal that would be impossible to be achieved by the individual alone.   Sharing knowledge and insight often leads to a more creative discovery, an overall better end product. Working in groups enhances the individual's motivation to achieve, promotes learning, improves interpersonal communication skills, and increases creativity.

In English 313, students are given the opportunity to work together as a group and draw on each other's knowledge and perspectives.   This approach, called collaborative learning, emphasizes teamwork and problem solving.   English 313 strays from traditional classroom norms by becoming a more hands on, real life experience.   Dr. Klein has essentially organized the class into a small team with a high degree of autonomy to work collaboratively on several projects throughout the semester.   Each class meeting is a live discussion, rather than a professor-student lecture.   Students continue this even outside of class by use of the English 313 email list server, which allows the students to correspond to each other daily.   Frequent e-assignments further enhance reciprocal learning, where students turn to their peers with questions, explanations, and suggestions.

The class also focuses briefly on the three collaboration strategies and the pros and cons to each method.   Thus, students become aware of the basic strategies used in teamwork, which they can use as guidelines for group projects later on in the semester.

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