A positive student experience of collaborative project work in upper-year undergraduate chemistry
Demands are placed on undergraduate courses in chemistry to develop transferable skills, such as teamwork, alongside subject content and technical skills. Such skills can be developed by implementing pedagogies which involve students working together. Such pedagogies can, however, pose various challenges, including unfavourable student perceptions and experiences including the occurrence of dysfunctional student teams. This article presents a research-informed group project assignment delivered as part of an upper-year undergraduate chemistry course which has been found to overcome these challenges. The instructional activity is characterized by a high degree of structure and support for teamwork. Student perceptions, collected by survey and interview, and peer- and self-evaluations of contributions to the work of the groups reveal that students have experienced the activity positively. Many perceived disadvantages of working in a team to complete a project were either reportedly not experienced or could be overcome by the students, while perceived advantages were often reported to be experienced. Dysfunction within teams did not represent a significant issue.