Who will be on my team? How the students select teams for group work in IT projects
Faculty of Technical Education, King Mongkut’s University of Technology
Place of Publication
School of Science
Forming groups to deliver project work is very important in software development classes at university, because most large scale IT projects require team work. Group projects provide authentic assignments which replicate the workplace and allow students to experience the difficulties they may encounter when working in teams. However, in the university setting a common problem is that team mates know very little about each other. Some students might work well within the team, while others do not contribute at all. This research investigated this issue when working in a team, by running small preliminary assignments to give students a better idea of who to select as partners before they form a team for the final, major project. Students were required to form three unique groups in order to finish three small assignments. They were then encouraged to work with different group members before they could choose freely, team members for the final project. Their free choice was then based on their previous team experiences. A sample of 32 Thai university students studying in the Department of Information Technology and Communication (ICT) took part in the research. Survey and interview techniques were used to determine participants’ preferences when selecting team members. Data collection used the software tool Qualtrics and included online surveys. Descriptive statistical analysis included mean, percentages, and averages, using a five point Likert scale. Findings indicate that students do benefit from the informed team formation, with half of the teams producing a higher score in the final project. The study also revealed that students care more about the relationships between team members than the final assignment mark. The majority of students (90%) participating in the study indicated that they enjoyed the approach and were satisfied with the subject.