Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Student Perceptions about Team Projects as a Pedagogical Tool in Upper Division Undergraduate Accounting Courses: Indifference Curves

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Student Perceptions about Team Projects as a Pedagogical Tool in Upper Division Undergraduate Accounting Courses: Indifference Curves

Article excerpt

BACKGROUND

In the past decade, Corporate America has embraced the team concept as a platform for building and re-engineering organizations. They also claim that teamwork is the structural norm now in organizations across the globe. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) claim that "teams will become the primary unit of performance in high-performance organizations."

Assigning students to teams to work on a major project has been heralded in business school programs as a significantly positive form of learning which introduces students to the team environment they are likely to encounter in the workplace. Hansen's (2006) summary of the literature on the use of group projects supports this contention. Hansen identified collaborative learning, experience with complex work, team projects, and improved communication, interpersonal and social skills, among the various benefits. As part of pedagogy, the authors have used various types of team involvement. One author prefers and requires all team project presentations to be videotaped by each team and shown via television on the presentation day. The authors use other traditional approaches to team presentations. In discussing the relative merits of each approach, the author requiring students to videotape presentation made the following anecdotal observations:

Students who videotaped their presentation, on average, put more effort into the research and the presentation. This arises as the students naturally are curious about how they appear on television and review the presentation for determining how they look. Being their own critic, they generally redo and revise their work.

Videotaping forces the students to consider the presentation program in more detail, especially interactions of team members during the presentation. Live presentations often do not require as much detailed planning of the presentation.

Students tend to get more out of the other team presentations because when they make a live presentation, they are so worried about their own presentation they tend to not focus on the other teams. Likewise after presenting, they tend to be so exhausted that they have difficulty focusing attention on the other teams' presentations.

Given the above, the author requiring video presentations believed that students learned more, spent more time, and met more often than the more traditional live method of team project presentations.

The authors decided to conduct an experiment to determine if students perceived that learning is better or enhanced by the use of videotaping. The experiment was to compare student perceptions of the team experience from classes where the videotaping was required with student perceptions from classes using traditional live presentations. By comparing the student observations, a measure of the effectiveness might be established.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Research by Shaw (2004) examined differences between intragroup diversity and student diversity-management skills. The researchers considered age, gender, and nationality of student-subjects to determine the students' satisfaction, final grade and perception of their own effectiveness. The research results indicated that the type of group the students were assigned to affected their grade performance. The position within the group also affected their grade performance.

Cross-functional teams are hyped as the most effective approach to succeeding in business projects. Rothstein (2002) used cross-functional disciplines of "business" and "design" to examine the values and behaviors of students in group projects. He then had the students develop and design a "Shopping Experience" for customers. This collaborative research resulted in perceptions changing during the duration of the project for both groups in the areas of creativity and the need for openness in discussions with colleagues.

Research by Kohli and Gruopta (2002) concentrated on student perceptions concerning team projects done while completing a systems analysis and design course. …

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