Faculty Guide to Team Projects

Five students working together around a laptop computer.

Are you considering using a team project in your course? Have you used them before but feel that there’s room for improvement? Wondering how to address a challenge you or your students face?

This resource provides effective, research-based practices and resources to help you create, support, and assess team projects in your class, whether it’s online, face to face, or hybrid.

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Supporting Students

Effective practice: Provide structure, time, and skill development training to your students.

Effective teamwork doesn’t just happen. The following steps will help ensure that your students can work effectively and reach their goals. 

Communicate your expectations and role in the project

Let your students know how you will be overseeing the assignment and clarify the extent to which you will provide support as they research and work together. Establish guidelines as to how and when they should contact you with questions and if problems arise. 

The following suggestions will help you help your students have a successful and positive experience.


Cooper, J.L.& Robinson, P. Using classroom assessment and cognitive scaffolding to enhance the power of small-group learning. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 149 – 161 (2014).

Morrison, D. Five essential skills instructors need to facilitate online group work and collaboration. Blog Post, Online Learning Insights, https://onlinelearninginsights.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/accessed 6/16/2016.

Oakley, B., Felder, R.M., Brent, R. & Elhajj, I. Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning, 2(1), 9 – 34 (2004).

Spencer-Oatey, Dauber, D., Jing, J. & Lifei, W. Chinese students' social integration into the university community: Hearing the students' voices. Higher Education, November (2016).

Tuckman, B.W. & Jensen, A. C. Stages of small-group development revisited. Group Facilitation, November, 43 – 48 (2010).