Team Think Tank (T3) examples:
T3-1 – getting to know your team. The key to successful T3s is to establish a positive, nurturing team environment. The T3 described in this chapter was designed specifically for that purpose and functions as a team icebreaker. Generally speaking, for each think tank, a team is tasked with working together to complete a worksheet with guidance from the course instructor and instructional team. The worksheet included many elements, some of which are highlighted below. This particular worksheet was adapted from the following article: Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9-34.
Part 1 – Welcome to the team!
For the first 30-45 minutes of this think tank, please come together as your assigned team and go through the following team considerations. Team Considerations: teamwork is at the heart of almost any career you can think of. Teamwork is extremely important in science as it leads to collaboration, sharing of ideas and overall creativity. Teamwork is an extremely rewarding experience as long as all individuals are dedicated to the teamwork process. To this end, it is important to get to know your team members and ensure you have a clear line of communication with one another. Our team will work together through the think tanks/labs and presentations throughout the course. We will also work together to construct scientific data figures and figure captions. As such, we should start thinking about some practical considerations:
- What is my assigned team name?
- Who are my team members (names), include your lab mentor as part of your team?
- How are we going to communicate with one another (MS Teams, Zoom, Facebook, email, etc.)?
- What do we need to take into consideration when setting up meeting times (i.e., time of day, is it being recorded, etc.)?
- What is an acceptable time window for responding to one another?
- How long will the meetings last (this is very important, keep it short and straight to the point):
- What is the team policy on attendance of meetings?
- What are the expectations for individual preparation prior to each meeting?
- And now for our team roles (you can revisit these at any time). The best way to function as a cohesive team is to designate team roles. These roles will help you plan and execute effective team meetings. You can keep the same people in the roles, but we recommend switching up the people in these roles for different tasks. Please also make sure that everyone contributes to this process. Here are some examples of team roles that should be filled. You can create other roles that will fit your needs if you wish, but you should minimally cover these roles. One person can certainly fit more than one role!
- Role 1 – a person (or persons) is needed to coordinate the team meeting process.
- Role 2 – a person (or persons) is needed to record meeting minutes and help the coordinator with the completion of each meeting agenda.
- Role 3 – a person (or persons) is needed to monitor progress and ensure everyone is on the same page with respect to understanding the work being accomplished by the team.
- Team conflicts – how will you manage these? To get you started on this, please download and read the following article: Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Coping with hitchhikers and couch potatoes on teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning, 2(1), 32-34. Discuss the article, specifically the two terms as they pertain to teamwork: hitchhiker and couch potato. How would you deal with hitchhikers and couch potatoes on your team?
Part 2: Research project concept map.
Your challenge is to design a team concept map aimed at describing the course research project you are about to embark on. Your best resources are: this lab manual and your lab course instructor and instructional team. The concept map should highlight:
- What is the main purpose of the course research project?
- What are the main objectives?
- What are the main experimental techniques and how do they tie into one another?
You will have 1 hour to complete this task. You will then present your concept map to your peers in an informal 2-minute presentation.