Developing collaboration skills in first year undergraduate business students

The University of Melbourne
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
The Quantitative Analysis of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education in Business, Economics and Commerce: Forum Proceedings, 2008, pp. 47 - 58
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Collaboration skills are defined as the set of skills and capabilities required to work effectively within and across groups to achieve group goals. The development of these skills are assumed but not taught directly or evaluated in undergraduate group assessments in many university subjects. This paper discusses a research project investigating the development of student collaboration skills in the compulsory first year undergraduate subject 21129 Managing People and Organisations. One of the key aims of the subject is to help students understand and acquire a range of collaboration skills that will enhance their work readiness. During August 2008, 290 student surveys were completed by students after their initial formation into groups during tutorials. These surveys asked students about their past experiences of group work, and their expectations and motivations with respect to group work in this subject over the coming semester. A follow-up survey was conducted in November, and attempts to capture the extent of changes, if any, in student perceptions of their experience developing collaboration skills over the semester. This paper reports on the findings of stage one of this project. An overview of student attitudes and perceptions is presented, as well as findings on the systematic variation of these with respondent characteristics. The finding of a number of statistically significant associations of student satisfaction with the method of group formation employed in tutorials is then discussed as a surprise finding from this research.
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