Switching Groups - Encouraging Class Comradery

Submitted by Andrew Burch on

In the flipped classroom, we spend the majority of class time working in groups at the boards.  I typically only change groups a couple of times in the semester.  My goal for Spring 2016 is to change groups at least twice each class session, meaning that students will work in at least 3 different groups each time the class meets.  Since this hybrid class meets 13 times (excluding 2 days for Midterm and FInal), this means that the students will work with at least 26 different groups.  This will force the students to work with nearly everyone (if not everyone) in the class at least once.  I will report results at the end of Spring 2016, and will compare 4 things from F15:  anecdotal class culture, course grade, Midterm grade, and Final grade.

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Average: 4 (3 votes)


Bronwen Steele Thu, 01/14/2016 - 11:24am

Andy, the idea is to see if changing up groups/working with different people influences grades, etc?

Peter Turner Mon, 01/25/2016 - 11:10am

I think this is a great "experiemnt," Andy. Flexible grouping has many benefits, the least of which is to help build community in the classroom. I especially like how you will be tying this to academic achievement! I am curious, however, how will you measure "anecdotal class culture?"

Andrew Burch Mon, 01/25/2016 - 11:59am

Probably just state my "feel" for how the course ran.  Know that isn't very measureable, but I am using course grades as something I can actually measure.  Maybe I could create a survey to ask students about in class interactions.  Thought?

Peter Turner Fri, 02/05/2016 - 9:46am

I like the idea of a survey. Natalie Rivera and I did a pre-post survey for our MAT-EDU Learning Community that showed significant growth in their self-perceptions regarding the community. It used a Likert Scale which made it easy to compare; you simply take the average of their responses. I'll send it to you.

Olga Tsoudis Sun, 02/14/2016 - 11:14am

Hi Andy, This is a great idea to have students interact with more than one group. I don't think you will be able to test causation. You may want to add a survey to the project.  I like the idea of a pre and post survey. Thanks, Olga

Teri Graham Tue, 04/19/2016 - 1:27pm


I believe this is a very powerful tool to expose students to colloboration that they will potential see in their lives.  I have my student change teams after every assessment when is a min of 6 times in my MAT081 courses.  I share with them the example of my son who prefers to just sit at his computer and write code but had to "learn" how to work collaborative because his company wanted him involved in team meetings and decisions etc.

I don't currently survey my students specifically about just the groups but it is a questions on my personal course evaluations I have the students complete anonymously at the end of the semester.


Sarah Lockhart Wed, 04/27/2016 - 4:06pm

I am curious to see how this went.  I know I don't change groups often enough...  Were you able to switch them up twice during a class meeting?  Were they grumpy at all about doing it?  How did you decide when to switch?  Was it a random grouping or did you specifically select certain groups?  I have more questions but I'll stop.  Inquiring minds want to know.