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CO-VID-EO: resilient hybrid learning strategies to explicitly teach team skills in undergraduate students.
  • Qingqi Wang,
  • Amanda Rasmussen
Qingqi Wang
University of Nottingham
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Amanda Rasmussen
University of Nottingham
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Abstract

The modern workplace requires teamwork bridging distances, time-zones and cultures using virtual collaboration platforms. As such teamwork is a key employability skill for our graduates, and yet we rarely explicitly teach team skills or how to navigate and collaborate in a virtual environment. Here we demonstrate that integrating in-person (synchronous) and online (synchronous and asynchronous) learning environments can prove an extremely resilient teaching method that allowed continuity during COVID-19 lockdown, while providing them with these essential skills. Students were given a semester long documentary video team assignment supported by regular compulsory team training sessions and using the Microsoft Teams online collaboration platform. At the end of semester, the 24 students in the class were sent a survey with questions relating to their perspectives of teamwork in general, the team training sessions and online platform and the impact of COVID-19. Of the 12 respondents only 4 reported negative attitudes to teamwork in general and learning and shared workload were the most reported benefits. Implementing explicit (and compulsory) team training sessions throughout semester were valued by the students for reasons ranging from the explicit intention of each task (team establishment and planning, negotiation, reflection of team behaviours, negotiating team member contributions) to the more general appreciation that regular compulsory sessions ensured the teams met frequently. It was particularly positive that every student reported that this team experience was better than their previous team experiences, and this in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown. Included with this manuscript are all the learning materials provided to the students and a few key lessons we learnt along the way.