Course Project: Team Project
Objective | Guidelines | Grading Rubrics | Best Practices
This capstone course concludes with a research Team Project that starts during the first week and continues throughout the duration of the class. It culminates with the submission of a formal team report and an oral presentation by each team during Week 7 and Peer Evaluations in Week 8.
Each team will identify and explore an emerging technology. This will be a technology that may already exist but is drawing attention because of new applications, anticipated impacts, or potential controversies. Examples could include
- nanotechnology in manufacturing;
- genetically modified organisms;
- remote or robotic surgery; or
- wireless electricity.
The team will explore the technical, social, cultural, moral, and ethical issues presented by the technology.
All teams will be assigned at the start of the first week. The first deliverable is due on the Sunday of Week 1, so students must get organized and into the project immediately. Each team will select a team leader who will be responsible for the coordination of the research and the submission of assignments. Team members will remain on the assigned team throughout the duration of the class (in the project world, project managers seldom have the opportunity to select their own team members). It is highly recommended that each team develop its own team contract to clearly define expectations, strategies, and timelines.
Emphasis is placed on both individual contributions and the team’s final product. You will communicate with your team through team meetings (online) and team discussion threads. Team members who fail to participate in an assignment will not get points for that assignment.
With the parts of the Team Project where a group grade will be assigned, all team members must submit a copy of the team’s work. When an assignment is completed, the team leader will distribute the finished product to all team members, and each team member must submit this copy to the Dropbox.
The primary focus of the team is to research and assess the issues associated with a specific emerging technology. The team will produce a formal research paper in APA format, with each team member contributing 10 pages of text. The paper will provide the basis for a 20-minute Team Presentation.
The following required elements must be researched and included in the Final Project:
- A brief description of the technology and an explanation of the associated science
- The historical development and context of the technology
- Political and legal influences
- Economic questions and considerations
- Psychological considerations and sociological effects
- The technology in its cultural context, media influence
- Implications for the environment
- Moral and ethical implications
To properly analyze the various elements of the project, research will cut across disciplines and include academic, scientific, and industry sources. Complete project guidelines and suggestions can be found in Doc Sharing.
All students submit the project individually, not just the Team Leader. With respect to graded group work, the Team Leader must distribute the finished project to the team, so that each member may submit it individually to the Dropbox. With respect to individually graded segments of the project, each team member is responsible for compiling his or her own assignment and submitting it to the Dropbox.
- Research topic and outline (possible 50 points, group grade). Guidelines for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing.
- Each team will select a topic for research and a team leader. Using the list of required elements for the project, each member of the team will take responsibility for researching specific aspects of the technology. The team will then produce a detailed outline for the project, noting each team member’s research sections. Please note, the list of required elements is just that—a list—and does not constitute an outline.
- Although this assignment will result in a group grade, each person is required to submit a copy to the Dropbox by the due date. The team leader will distribute the finished product to each team member, whereupon each team member will submit the same assignment to the Dropbox.
- Resource review (90 possible points, individual grade). Guidelines for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing.
- Each member of the team will assemble at least five scholarly academic references that will be used to write the paper (refer to Week 1’s tutorial on Scholarly References). Each student will list his or her references using APA format, and provide a brief explanation of each resource indicating how that resource will be used. The focus should be upon the student’s specific research assignment. An approximate length of this bibliography is between two to three pages.
- Each student will submit his or her assignment to the Dropbox by the due date and provide a copy to the team leader.
- Submit rough draft to TurnItIn (no points, but required).
- Each team leader will submit a single Team Paper to TurnItIn this week, leaving enough time for instructor review and team corrections. This is mandatory, and no papers will be accepted without having been submitted to TurnItIn. After the instructor reviews the paper through TurnItIn, general comments and suggestions for the paper will be directed back to the team.
- Final draft of the paper (200 possible points, individual grade). Guidelines for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing.
- All written sections will be compiled into one cohesive Team Paper. All students should review the paper to ensure that the transitions are smooth, that the sections fit together, and that the bibliographies are compiled correctly.
- The table of contents should clearly indicate each student’s assigned sections. An introduction should clearly state the paper’s thesis, outline the scope of the investigation, and comment on any challenges the team faced with respect to research sources. Report sections should be clearly identified using level-1 and level-2 headings. The paper should conclude with recommendations for further research or possible solutions that could be evaluated. A complete list of references, in APA format, should follow along with any appendices.
- Although this assignment will result in one cohesive Team Paper, each person is required to submit a copy to the Dropbox by the due date. The team leader will distribute the finished product to each team member, whereupon each team member will submit the same assignment to the Dropbox.
Team oral presentations (150 possible points, group grade). Guidelines for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing. Each team will conduct a live Team Presentation with all classmates present.
Important note about attendance: If you fail to attend, you will not receive credit for the presentation. Exceptions to this policy will be made only for the following unique emergency situations:
- In the event that the area in which a student resides experiences an extended power outage due to a natural disaster (hurricane, flood, storm, etc.)
- A student is on active military duty and cannot complete coursework
- A student has a verifiable (documented) medical or other personal emergency
One hour before the presentation, the team will post their PowerPoint slides and test their microphones. Every member of the team is expected to participate and will be individually graded by the instructor. The Team Presentation is expected to be professional, with each team member expected to speak as if he or she was a speaker at a DeVry graduation; informal and slang language is not acceptable. Each team should rehearse its presentation so that the transition between each speaker is smooth and to ensure that the use of the PowerPoint slides is appropriate.
Online students: You will be using a Web conferencing tool. In order to give your presentation, you will need a computer microphone. Please plan ahead and be ready for this.
Each presentation should begin with an introduction of the team members, and then move to a discussion of each of the elements of the team assignment using PowerPoint slides. After the slides are presented and the sections have been discussed, the team members are to ask the class two to three questions about their technology that will promote discussion among the other class members. The presentation should end with recommendations for further research or assessments pertaining to the technology.
Peer Evaluation (30 possible points, individual grade). Guidelines for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing.
- Students will find a Peer Evaluation form in Doc Sharing. Each student is required to fully complete the evaluation of one other team’s presentation. The team to be evaluated should be clearly identified, and all questions should be answered using full sentences with correct spelling and grammar. Each student will submit this assignment to the week 8 Dropbox by the assigned due date.
Rubrics for this assignment can be found in Doc Sharing.
The following are best practices in preparing this paper:
- If possible, assign teams before the start of Week 1. Use this as a way to introduce students to each other. Assign five to six students per team. Teams can be assigned by time zone, alphabetically, or by interest.
- Watch the scope of some of these projects because some are too large (nanotechnology) and some are too focused. Get students to consider the scope of their topic while writing their thesis statement for the Week 1 outline.
- Emphasize from Week 1 the importance of the weekly readings and the requirement to tie the concepts from these readings into their Final Projects.
- Encourage students to draw up team contracts outlining expectations, strategies, responsibilities, and timelines. Suggest a Gantt chart.
- Find ways to get the teams to use the team meeting tools as soon as possible, perhaps to work out their team contracts. Routinely check in on the team Threaded Discussions to see who is participating.
- Clarify that the required elements list is just that; it is not the outline. Provide suggestions for different ways of organizing the paper and the research.
- Be clear that while students are researching the history of their technologies, they have to compile more than just a timeline. A timeline is a good start, but they must also assess the cultural context and the various social factors that drove the development of the technology.
- Team projects are often a source of discontent with students. Try to head off potential disasters by checking in with the groups each week. Ask a lot of questions about their research and the status of the projects.
- If it can go wrong, it will. Because time is tight with the Final Presentations, make sure that students practice with the Web conferencing tools. Demonstrate by using the tools during your own office hours.
- You may wish to assign groups for the Peer Evaluation (e.g., Team A reviews Team B, Team B reviews Team C, etc.). Students should make notes during the presentations so that they are prepared to complete the evaluation form. Encourage students to submit these evaluations before Week 8, if possible, so that the grades can be up earlier.
- Students are graded individually on their sections of the research paper. However, there is one section of the rubric for a team mark, which are points awarded for how well the paper came together as a whole. For this part of the individual grade, students in a team should share the same number of points for the cohesiveness of the paper.