The Role of Teamwork in Junior Lab

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GUNTHER ROLAND: So teamwork is extremely important, both in 8.13 and 8.14. And again, that's one of the things that many of them really learn in Junior Lab for the first time, that they have the partner and they really have to figure out how to make sure that the two of them join forces in doing this. So it's not just dividing the work, but really working together to make the most out of their time.

And I think it's really the most successful teams are the ones that work closely together and don't just meet in the lab and then split up afterwards. And I think impressing that on the students, the value of collaboration, is one of the goals that we have in 8.13 and then in 8.14. At the beginning of 8.13, we have lectures on collaboration by one of the WRAP instructors. And the students at the beginning are sometimes a little bit bemused at these lectures, because they spell out concepts that seem rather natural.

But once this gets translated into practice in 8.13, I think-- I hope that the students realize that these concepts really are important for their work and to be able to be reliable, to be able to trust the other person, to be able to take criticism from their partner, to be able to really split the work in an effective way, but then also collaborate on cross-checking each other's work. These are things that we discuss at the beginning and then try to monitor continuously throughout the semester.

And I find that, often, that the students that find their time management towards the end of the semester the most challenging are the ones who didn't really develop a good style of collaboration with their partner. So this is sort of one of the predictors of what causes difficulties towards the end of the semester, when many things come due in a very short time.

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