October 20 Day 226: Group Dynamics

I’m preparing to give the second round of group oral assessments next week . The feedback on the first experience showed general dissatisfaction with random groups. So I’m going to spend some time in class facilitating group formation—helping like minded students find their people.

I’m asking students to decide what type of group they want to be a part of, either:

  • One where each person essentially prepares on their own; they check in with each other briefly— possibly asynchronously—and really only come together at the interview; or
  • One where each person wants to work in community to learn, teach, prepare, and practice.
Start of a flow chart "What are your priorities?"

Crap. This is not a binary decision. Upon reflection, I’m scrapping everything. Instead, I will ask each student to rank where they lie on the collaboration continuum with 1 representing a strong priority to work alone and 5 representing a strong preference to work in community. Then based on their own self-assessment, I will have them select a Zoom breakout room for further discussion, schedule comparison, and group formation.

This would be so much easier if we could walk around the room and talk with each other. My fingers are crossed that everyone shows up (virtually) tomorrow. Now I have more things to change before class tomorrow. I better get back to it. Thanks for listening.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

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