Team-Based Learning Online

Team-Based Learning Online

Team-Based Learning is an evidence based collaborative learning teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, known as “modules,” that are taught in a three-step cycle: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercise. A class typically includes one module. Find out how some professors are transitioning their Team-Based Learning to an online format.

PLNU CTL: Team-Based Learning Online: A Chat with Bill Roberson
Friday, July 10, 2020

Four Basic TBL Essentials:

1. Groups must be properly formed and managed

2. Team assignments must promote both learning and team development

3. Students must receive frequent and timely feedback

4. Students must be accountable for the quality of their individual and group work

Important: Keep students in the same team they have been in, up to 6 in a team. Typically, smaller teams are usually suggested for the online format, but don’t break up already formed teams unless absolutely necessary.

iRat, tRat, and Grades

Administering the iRAT and tRAT in Canvas and filing grades into the Gradebook

Before the tests:

  1. Create the iRAT as an ungraded survey. Use student submission of the iRAT as an indication as to whether the student participated in the tRAT. Adjust Canvas’ settings to shuffle answers, allow only one attempt, and not show the answers upon completion.
  2. Make two copies of the ungraded survey in #1. Assign the first copy to team recorders (the person responsible for filling out the team’s forms). Assign the second copy to all other students. Adjust Canvas’ settings to NOT shuffle answers (important, so that every student sees the same order of questions during the tRAT process). Also adjust the settings to allow three attempts, see questions marked wrong, and get the average of the grades from these three attempts.
  3. Create a “no submission” assignment for all teams. (This is a placeholder for the tRAT score.)

After the tests:

  1. Change the form of the test under #1 to a graded quiz. Note the students who did not submit this test and thus are ineligible for a tRAT grade.
  2. Determine the scores from the ungraded surveys submitted by the team recorders.
  3. Manually assign grades for #3, using the grades shown in #5 for all students who participated in the iRAT.

Advantages to this approach:

  • With the exception of step #6, direct involvement by the instructor is minimal.
  • All grades flow to Canvas’ Gradebook.
  • All students see the same order of questions and answers on the tRAT, facilitating team discussion.

Although these are not complete solutions, dishonest practices can be discouraged by making the iRATs timed, and by shuffling questions and answer choices. Proctoring tool (Honorlock) can also be used to lock down browsers and disable taking screenshots of questions. Instructors may wish to rethink the value of RAT questions that favor memorization in an online environment where it is difficult to enforce “closed book” tests.

Application Exercises

If you are using Zoom, you can use video and chats conferencing. The important feature is to have a “plenary room”, where everyone in the class is part of andbreakout rooms“, the “rooms” where students would have their team discussions (one room per team). 

If you are using Zoom integrated in Canvas, all students enter Zoom at the exact same time as Zoom begins as part of the TBL lesson workflow. Additionally, all the students’ names match exactly your roster’s names and their group information, So, setting them into breakout rooms is a breeze. I cannot emphasize how practical this is.

For synchronous TBL lessons, in tRATs and Application Exercises (AEs), each team should have its own video conferencing breakout room.

One really cool and unforeseen advantage is the ability to “sneak” at any time into team  discussions. As faculty are able to “jump” from team to team pretty much undetected, they can get a really good sense of which key concepts groups are struggling with. Also, and this is very useful, assess how each student participates in the team discussions. 

Google Forms and Spreadsheets – We (Univ. of British Columbia) have used Google forms to fill up Google spreadsheets in real-time, then use the filled spreadsheet reveal as the simultaneous report. One of the nice things is you can ask students for many parameters pertaining to their decision. For example, in a Mechanical engineering course total cost, actuator type, and transmission type needs to be entered by each team into a Google form. All the results flow into the spreadsheet for simultaneous report. Once student input is revealed…columns can be sorted….showing least expensive or highest performance, etc.

When having a whole class discussion in the ‘plenary room’, when, for instance, teams are discussing answers for AEs, it is typically best to have everyone muted except for each team’s designated spokesperson. (This position should rotate within each team.) If another student (non- spokesperson) has questions, the option for virtual raising hands works well and then the TBL facilitator can moderate the discussion just as in class.

4S Design