From: "Gentry, Angella B. (UMC-Student)"
To: "Glaser, Rainer E." Subject: RE: Dynamics Reports Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 23:18:33 -0600 Group 25, Katie et al. Katie Andrews Angella Gentry Lesley Roberson Hillary Willard Our group already all knew each other before this class either through greek organizations, dorm floors or hometowns. This made it very easy to get along and work together. None of the original five of us had a class after Chem 210 so we often met then to discuss class material. We did not have a set meeting time but instead planned our meetings week to week depending on how busy we were and how close it was to the upcoming exam. This made it flexible enough for all of us to stay committed to the group meetings and helped by increasing or decreasing the time we spent each week according to our need to study and the time we had available. We usually met at Memorial Union because it is a good study environment but still allows for group discussion. We did different types of work depending on what anyone in the group was having trouble with or what we knew was being emphasized for the next exam. We usually tried to agree on a certain set of problems, online exercises or news items to complete by the next meeting and then reviewed those. The most helpful part of this method was while one member may not understand a certain problem, another would and amongst the five of us, we were usually able to work out any confusions. We also usually met the week of a test in the evenings to study together. This included reviewing practice exams, old exams, quizzing each other and going over any material that was difficult to understand. It was helpful to study in a group in combination with each of our own individual studying. The group size was actually good because over the semester we had a member drop the class and we still had plenty of members to work together. It also allowed for two or three of us to meet when we had more available time than other members of the group. Also pairs of us also sat in class together often which gave us a chance to consider topics we should discuss at future meetings. Because we allowed a lot of flexibility in our meetings and met in subgroups if desired, it wasn't as difficult to work around everyone's schedules. Also because we all knew each other previously we were comfortable working with each other. Working in collaborative groups is very effective in an absolute grading class because you are willing to help others who may be struggling more than you improve because it is of no detriment to your grade. Also working in groups is always an effective way to learn and gives a student additional resources for help. By setting up the groups in class, it encourages students to actually follow through and improves all the students' ability to succeed in the class. We all agreed that what we enjoyed most was getting to know the people in our group better. It is always nice to have friends in your classes. Also it was helpful to have a group that would be able to catch you up in the class if you ever fell behind due to other difficult classes or extenuating circumstances. If the group work was formalized it may be helpful because it would enforce all members to be committed to the group. This way a student who wanted to utilize a group would not end up with apathetic students and lose out. One suggestion for a way to formalize the groups would be to set a requirement for a group to submit a report once every couple of weeks. Also possibly assign one topic to discuss in this meeting and then the report would include what was done at the meeting and talk about their discussion of the topic. If this was submitted by a certain date every couple of weeks for five points or so, it would give students motivation to meet and allow them a chance to earn some points. Overall the group has been very helpful. We all agreed that it somehow helped our performance in the class and gave us an opportunity to learn and understand more about a difficult course. Best, Group 25, Katie et al.