The following exercises are designed to help students learn how to work together more effectively on longer projects.
One way to offer practice in developing these skills is by facilitating low-stakes team-building activities like this procedural writing exercise. While it’s focused on the genre of instruction writing, it creates an environment for teams to solve a problem together. You could easily adapt this exercise to focus on the logical progression of a report instead of a recipe as well.
Other ways of teaching collaboration include requiring some form of team documentation. A contract or Team Charter exercise like the one listed below can help set expectations from the beginning of the project which make it more likely the teams succeed in their task.
You might also find it helpful to include some kind of self/team evaluation to get more insight into which team members were actually contributing to the final product. Some instructors even use these evaluations when considering final project grades (you can assign a product grade for the report itself and a process grade for the individual team member’s contribution for example).
Time/project management skills are also useful when engaging inc collaborative work. Although traditional Gantt Charts have fallen out of favor in many professional environments, this project allows students to think through multiple ways of planning a large project. You can use this exercise to segue into discussions of more contemporary agile methodologies.
In addition, you might find the following readings useful for teaching collaboration.
The following article was originally published in the Harvard Business Review and has been linked here as a .pdf for easy sharing. This reading is useful to share with students to help them understand that collaborative writing skills (like the ones they develop during a report project) can be useful to them in many future career endeavors.
The following article was originally published on workamajig.com and has been linked here as a .pdf for sharing. This is another article focusing on strategies for collaboration.