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Guest Post: Total Team Collaborative Learning of OM in Spain

September 18, 2014

flammOur Guest Post comes from Phillip Flamm, who teaches OM in the ISQS Department at Texas Tech University

I have recently returned from teaching operations management this past summer in Texas Tech’s Study Abroad Program in Spain. I divided my 24 students into 8 teams of 3 each with these provisos:

  • Each member of the team will get the same final grade for 80% of the class so they will be forced to help each other
  • Grades will be based on 2 exams (taken as a team), 2 or 3 team presentations, and a peer grade (from team members plus an attitude grade from me)
  • One presentation will be a tutorial of quantitative material
  • The second presentation will be the team solution of an OM case scenario

As part of the class, I also arranged tours of 2 manufacturing plants.

Students studying abroad normally want to talk about what they did and saw while traveling. The teams involved in Total Team Collaborative Learning only wanted to talk about how much they learned and how much they retained. The students truly enjoyed the OM class and the lowest group exam grade was 88/100. (I give the exact same tests during Fall and Spring back in Texas and the average is 64.) This seems to suggest that the teams learned faster, and retained more.

In the Summer Study Abroad 2014, we increased from 15 to 24 students over the prior year, with the final grades staying the same. We:

  • Utilized special power point pages with 3 slides per page, with lines for notes; teams reviewed notes together following lectures to clean up any questions they might have
  • Worked daily quizzes together for a team grade
  • Prepared quantitative teaching sessions 3 times during the month long class
  • Worked homework problems together for a team grade
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