How is the course set up?
The methodology of developing students’ team working skills in projects that are motivated for the students themselves as well as stakeholders has influenced many teachers and departments at Uppsala university (UU). The methodology is well known at UU especially in the faculty of natural science and technology, and in EIT Health, a European network for promoting entrepreneurship and developing innovations in healthy living and active ageing.
The methodology has been implemented as part of several courses on innovation and entrepreneurship in the health sector.
The course and the participants
The best example is our Summer school (5 credits) at masters level in which student’s from any discipline can register. The name of the course is Innovation Game: A Summer School Applying Serious Game Design in Health Care and Education. The student groups from two summer schools so far has been very interdisciplinary and multicultural. Most of the students are mobile, international students, coming from all over the world but most of them are master students at a Swedish university.
From the course evaluations we can see that the students really like the format of the course and the assignments and they learn a lot about team work and groupdynamic.
The learning outcomes in the syllabus are:
After completing the course the participant should be able to:
– apply principles of an innovation process to identify, formulate and solve problems?
– practice a model of idea generation and development of solutions based on the needs and values of the target group
– develop effective and creative teams based on the understanding of how team composition, leadership and self-knowledge influence success
-value and articulate how serious games can be applied in the healthcare system, to improve learning, change behavior and to develop the resilience as a tool to maintain health and quality of life
-interpret, critically evaluate, synthesize and communicate scientific findings and other information relevant to the subjects of the course orally and in writing.
Involvement of stakeholders
The course invite companies and the municipal health and eleder care to participate by giving the course challenges to work on. The challenges are presented to the students during the first campus day by oral presentation or by a written text.
During the course there are many contacts between the students and their contact/stakeholder. The communication helps the students to be on the track and to understand the challenges they work on. The result is presented in a pitch to a panel including stakeholders, and in a written report. The reports are distributed to the stakeholders and the course teachers communicate with the stakeholders about how they receive the results.
Other courses at UU have been inspired by experts in teams and used the ideas of developing student’s group working skills.
The methodology used has been a success. The students as well as the teachers really like the methods used in the course. The course aims are complex, still the teams do very well during the short time, only two weeks, together in the team work.
The support for developing ideas on experts in team at Uppsala University is a small local network on experts in teams and the contact person Svante Axelsson. The ideas of experts in teams are presented at the Academic teacher training courses opened for all teachers at the university.
How do students improve interdisciplinary teamwork skills?
We have been focusing on both the product and the process during the Summer school. Interdisciplinary teamwork is almost the core of the course.
Tools and exercises
We use many different tools in this effort: introduction to team work, developing awareness of roles in a group (Belbin), building a team by choosing group members with complementary skills/roles, writing group contracts/rules, using expert in team’s reflection book, role plays, discussions and evaluations.
How do students improve innovation skills?
The course is part of the education within EIT Health with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. Uppsala University Innovation is part of the course and they introduce innovation and the Lean canvas template.
The course also introduce and use the design thinking model to the students. They are free to use that in their group work. Some groups do, some don’t.
Tools and exercises
Workshop on innovation, Lean canvas, the design thinking model.
How do students work with reflection?
We use reflection methods on both the individual and group level.
The instruction to the reflection assignment describe it in detail. It is taken from Graham Gibbs Learning in teams as well as from the Experts in team’s reflection book.
Write a text “Reflections on group dynamics”
From Wednesday the 9th of August, write a text for approximately 20 minutes twice a week, approximately one page. The assignment is part of the assessment on the Learning outcome that describe group dynamics.
You can start answering the question What do you do to help forming the team?
Then you can answer the questions and fill in the following sentences or, at least, be inspired by them:
How are you in teams?
What roles in the text “Reflections – a prerequisites for learning in experts in teams” can you use to define what roles you and the other group members may take?
In teams I tend to…
In teams I tend to avoid…
I like team where…
I don’t like teams where…
How I’d like to be in this team…
How I like this team to be for me…
Please, use the folder in The Studentportalen for your document Reflections on Group Dynamics. The folder is personal and the text can only be read by you and the teacher. Reflect on what happens in the Group and on your reactions.
You can also reflect on (from the text Reflection – a prerequisite…):
1. Decisions and Ownership (anchored in one, a few or all).
2. Polarity (are there tensions between people?).
3. Participation and Dominance (even or uneven), decisions made by one or many.
4. Sharing of Information (task oriented or personal, superficial or deep).
5. The progress of the Project (targeted activities or continuous derailments).
6. Non-themes (everybody knows it, sees it but nobody talks about it, “the pink elephant in the room”).
The Studentportalen is the Uppsala University LMS.
Exercises and tools
Reflection book, write a reflection in the LMS at least twice a week.
How do we work with facilitation?
We have used a senior professor/lecturer as the facilitator for group dynamic development. The facilitator has used the experts in team’s method of objective observations, using sociograms, time-measurements and qualitative analysis of the groups’ communication patterns.
Exercises and tools
Observations, sociograms, time measurements and qualitative alnalysis.