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ERIC Number: EJ766604
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 36
ISSN: ISSN-0311-6999
Degrees of Separation--Balancing Intervention and Independence in Group Work Assignments
Burdett, Jane
Australian Educational Researcher, v34 n1 p55-71 Apr 2007
Group work is a widely used learning approach in higher education where it is seen as encouraging the development of collaborative skills and attitudes while producing an assessable product. Group assignments can, however, create dilemmas and tensions for both staff and students. Students often seek academic intervention in the form of support and dispute arbitration; and the types of interventions employed to deal with issues arising during and after group work, and the effectiveness of the interventions, are critical aspects of group assignments. This paper reports the findings from a recent qualitative study based on interviews with ten university academics about their use and management of undergraduate group work. These findings revealed that positive experiences and outcomes can be undermined when staff expectations of group work are at odds with student reality, particularly when academics try to distance themselves from student group problems or intervene retrospectively. The paper concludes that academics must be able and willing to work alongside groups in helping them achieve outcomes that are positive, fair and equitable.
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). P.O. Box 71, Coldstream, Victoria 3770, Australia. Tel: +61-0359-649-031; Fax: +61-0359-649-586; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia