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Webinar – The Teamwork Challenge PART 1: Forming effective student groups

February 26 @ 14:30 - 16:00


Who among us has not experienced the frustrations of setting up dysfunctional groups,  leading to complaints from dissatisfied students?  Who among us doesn’t feel the obstacles of setting up group work as insurmountable now that we face the added challenge of doing group work all online during the pandemic? All this in the context of knowing that group work allows our students to engage more deeply with the course content, the discipline, and their own learning. It also helps them improve vital soft skills such as communication, leadership, and collaboration. But where can we turn for guidance? Have you ever tried asking a colleague or reading one of the myriads of articles? It’s difficult to know what to believe given the conflicting information, but take heart! SALTISE is bringing together several experts whose combined and ongoing work on the topic offer important insights on how to make and manage effective student groups. 

On February 26th and again on March 26th, the two-part webinar will take a close and extended look at the challenges of building and managing effective student teams. Over these two sessions, we will discuss evidence-based strategies for building effective teams. Topics will include self- vs. teacher-selection of group composition, comparing and contrasting homogeneous and heterogeneous group formation, and how these choices interact with student learning and classroom orchestration. Special attention will be given to the often-overlooked considerations such as minority isolation and special needs.


Feb 26th, Part 1, PLATFORMS AND PRACTICE. Our panel will share online platforms such as CATME, now widely used at Harvard, and other technological tools for supporting the formation of effective groups. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion with the presenters.  

March 26th, Part 2, RESEARCH TO PRACTICE. Our panel will delve into the literature to try and elucidate best practices from seemingly contradictory findings, and how these can guide the development of your own practice.

Presenters & Discussants include:

Matthew Ohland, is the Dale and Suzi Gallagher Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His primary research areas are forming and managing student teams and student pathways in engineering. He led the development of CATME, a suite of tools to support teamwork.

Kelly Miller, Senior Preceptor of Applied Physics, Harvard University, and co-founder of social annotation software Perusall, along with fellow Harvard professors Eric Mazur, Gary King, and Brian Lukoff, University of Texas at Austin.

Sidney OmelonPh.D. in biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering, University of Toronto. Sidney is currently an associate professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at McGill and uses CATME for group building

Michael Dugdale, college Professor at John Abbott College, Montreal, Canada

Phoebe Jackson, a college professor at John Abbott College and SALTISE Fellow for 2020-21

Matthew Ohland: Matt received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has taught thousands of first-year engineering students at Purdue University and previously at Clemson University. CATME Team Tools, which was developed under his leadership, has served 1.6 million students worldwide.

Layton, R.A., Loughry, M.L., & Ohland, M.W., Ricco, G.D. (2010) Design and validation of a web-based system for assigning members to teams using instructor-specified criteria. Advances in Engineering Education, Spring, 28 pages.
Ohland, M.W., Loughry, M.L., Woehr, D.J., Bullard, L.G., Felder, R.M., Finelli, C.J., Layton, R.A., Pomeranz, H.R. & Schmucker, D.G. (2012). The Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness: Development of a behaviorally anchored rating scale for self and peer evaluation. Academy of Management: Learning & Education, 11(4) 609-630.
Loughry, M.L., Ohland, M.W., & Woehr, D.J. (2014). Assessing teamwork skills for assurance of learning using CATME Team Tools. Journal of Marketing Education, 36(1), 5-19, April 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0273475313499023.

Kelly Miller: Miller received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 2014. Her Ph.D.  focused on the use of technology and interactive teaching strategies in undergraduate physics classrooms. She currently teaches an introductory physics class for engineering undergraduates at Harvard using a flipped classroom approach. She is a co-founder of Perusall, a social annotation platform that helps prepare students for class. Kelly is actively involved in Physics Education Research (PER) and has presented both nationally and internationally on topics of flipped classroom, impact of social annotation and improving the effectiveness of group work.

Miller, K., Lukoff, B., King, G., & Mazur, E. (2018, March). Use of a social annotation Platform for Pre-class reading assignments in a Flipped introductory Physics class. In Frontiers in education (Vol. 3, p. 8). Frontiers.

Miller, K., Zyto, S., Karger, D., Yoo, J., & Mazur, E. (2016). Analysis of student engagement in an online annotation system in the context of a flipped introductory physics class. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(2), 020143.

Oliveira, T. E. D., Miller, K. A., Araujo, I. S., & Mazur, E. (2019). Reducing the gender gap in students’ physics self-efficacy in a team-and project-based introductory physics class. Physical Review Physics Education Research. New York. Vol. 15, no. 1 (Jan./June 2019), 010132, 9 p.

Michael Dugdale: Michael is a senior member of the physics department at John Abbott College in Montreal, is a Ph.D. candidate in Didactique at the Université de Montréal, a member of an established learning sciences and physics education research (PER) team, and a long-term member of SALTISE.  Michael’s teaching includes the use of several evidence-based approaches including Peer Assessment. His research interests include: conceptual change and the development of students’ epistemic frames in science and how pedagogical technologies and laboratory design can be used to support these areas of student growth.


Phoebe Jackson: Phoebe holds a Ph.D. in Education from McGill University, a B.Ed. and B.Sc. (Hons.) from the University of British Columbia. She is a physics teacher at John Abbott College in Montreal and a SALTISE S4 Fellow. Phoebe has been designing and implementing active learning in her teaching for more than 16 years and was the recipient of the 2020 Best Practice & Pedagogical Innovators Award from SALTISE. Prior to her position at John Abbott College, Phoebe taught elementary through high school in a variety of locations including British Columbia, India, Australia, and Quebec. She has also worked as a sessional lecturer in math and science education at McGill University.








February 26
14:30 - 16:00