Overview

Curriculum was designed for small groups of students to meet once a week for 45 minutes of collaboration training. Groups were set at four students as this was the maximum size of a session in Facebook Spaces. Size of four students was also found to be optimal as it was common for one student from the group to be missing, and groups of two did not work well while groups larger than 4 did not work well either.

Acitivites were selected to maximize the chance that a group would form that group collaboration identity. The movement from individual performances to group solidarity.

Curriculum changes to study group FYS LCs will be vetted in a rigorous development process with substantial involvement and sign off from the FYS director. Collaboration curriculum used in the study will be aligned so its implementation is the same in physical and virtual form. Both curriculum will be structured within the group collaboration features of Oculus Rooms software, which are round table discussions, video viewing, music appreciation, and board game playing. Physical and virtual curriculum based within this framework will be assessed and tested with affiliated administrators, teachers, and test students to ensure practicality and equalitible educational purposes across the study groups.

The study will run concurrent to the FYS classes, which are active for the first ten weeks of Fall Semester, and meet for 2 hours each week. During the fall semesters, the study will actively engage the FYS LCs study groups through the implementation of physical and VR collaboration modules and data collection points in class assignments. Subjects will engage with this additional curriculum every Wednesday afternoon when no classes are scheduled university-wide to ensure regularity to time and subject participation.

VR followed physical by a week


Weekly Breakdowns

Week 1

Physical - Lost at Sea

Goal: Initial exposure to the group to the kinds of activities we will be conducting in groups.

Activity: Lost at sea is a free activity conducted via paper handouts. It involves players rating a number of items as per their usefulness in survival situations. This initial rating is then discussed among the entire group to come up with a group rating. In most cases the group rating is higher than individual rating, exposing participants to the idea that group work will yield better results.

Measure of success:

  • Every member actively participated

  • Participants understood that working in groups can yield better results

  • Participants responded generally positively to the activity

Alternatives: Any “ice breaking” activities that do are depersonalized. Not requiring participants to share personal details on the first week allows them to get to know each other better without forcing it.

Debrief: As far the activity itself, I noticed that the task involving math (number 3 in the list above) grinds the group to stop. This is especially problematic since the “math” task is completely individual and it comes between Group ranking and Final score, both of which are the major opportunities for collaboration in this activity. In the future, we should probably stay away from any activity that breaks flow of collaboration and discussion as it simply defeats the purpose of this intervention.

Groups of 4 appear to work well. We have only had one group of 3. They seem to have been a little faster in breaking the ice. I think there was just fewer lanes of communication and less room to hide. This is based on observation from only one group. Designated Organizer is a role assigned to one participant in each group. The DO was placed in charge of reading the instructions, and keeping the group on task. I think it’s an effective way of encouraging collaboration and leadership, while removing the observer from the activity itself. Short of one group, I didn’t have trouble finding a volunteer to serve as the DO. I plan on rotating the role of DO weekly. Distribution of tasks might be a good strategy for organizing the VR groups.

Virtual Reality - Initial VR Training

Goal: Initial exposure to the group to the kinds of activities we will be conducting in groups.

Activity: Lost at sea is a free activity conducted via paper handouts. It involves players rating a number of items as per their usefulness in survival situations. This initial rating is then discussed among the entire group to come up with a group rating. In most cases the group rating is higher than individual rating, exposing participants to the idea that group work will yield better results.

Measure of success:

  • Every member actively participated

  • Participants understood that working in groups can yield better results

  • Participants responded generally positively to the activity

Alternatives: Any “ice breaking” activities that do are depersonalized. Not requiring participants to share personal details on the first week allows them to get to know each other better without forcing it.

Debrief: As far the activity itself, I noticed that the task involving math (number 3 in the list above) grinds the group to stop. This is especially problematic since the “math” task is completely individual and it comes between Group ranking and Final score, both of which are the major opportunities for collaboration in this activity. In the future, we should probably stay away from any activity that breaks flow of collaboration and discussion as it simply defeats the purpose of this intervention.

Groups of 4 appear to work well. We have only had one group of 3. They seem to have been a little faster in breaking the ice. I think there was just fewer lanes of communication and less room to hide. This is based on observation from only one group. Designated Organizer is a role assigned to one participant in each group. The DO was placed in charge of reading the instructions, and keeping the group on task. I think it’s an effective way of encouraging collaboration and leadership, while removing the observer from the activity itself. Short of one group, I didn’t have trouble finding a volunteer to serve as the DO. I plan on rotating the role of DO weekly. Distribution of tasks might be a good strategy for organizing the VR groups.