Tag Archives: groupwork

2012 Group work and bullying

Nicola Dimelow, Ann Walker and Lisa Reidy

A review of the literature indicates that most group work results in positive experiences (Burdett, 2003). However, a large minority report negative perceptions and experiences regarding group work (Volet & Mansfield, 2006). A key theme of negative comments refers to free loaders. Whilst many reasons for free loading in group work have been proposed, mainly from contributors to group work (Orr, 2010), the perspective of free loaders is not reported. It is conceivable that some free loading is the result of bullying within the group that prompts self selected exclusion through group avoidance, which has been evidenced as a coping mechanism in work place contexts.  Furthermore, bullying within the university or college setting has had limited empirical attention except for cyber bullying (Schenk & Fremouw, 2012). This is despite the evidence of bullying in school (Horne, Stoddard & Bell, 2007) and work place (Hoel, Glaso, Hetland, Cooper, & Einarsen, 2010). University maybe seen as an intermediate between these two settings and bullying is likely to occur within its context, yet there is a gap in the literature regarding bullying in further educational settings. Furthermore, there is lack of a reference to group work as providing a climate for bullying behaviour. A pilot study using an online questionnaire is proposed to assess bullying prevalence at university and group behaviour throughout the group work process. Participants will be respondents from an online questionnaire sent to first and second year Psychology and Sociology undergraduates and post graduates. 


Burdett, J. (2003). Making groups work: University student’s perceptions. International Educational Journal, 4, 177-191. 

Hoel,H., Glaso, L., Hetland, J., Cooper, C.L., & Einarsen, S. (2010). Leadership styles as predictors of self reported and observed workplace bullying. British Journal of Management, 21, 453-468. 

Horne, A.M., Stoddard, J.L., & Bell, C.D. (2007). Group approaches to reducing aggression and bullying in school. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 4, 262-271. 

Orr, S. (2010). Collaborating or fighting for the marks? Student’s experiences of group work assessment in the creative arts. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35, 301-313. 

Schenck, A.M., & Fremouw, W.J. (2012). Prevalance, Psychological impact and coping of cyberbully victims among college students. Journal of School Violence, 11, 21-37. 

Volet, S., & Mansfield, C. (2006). Group work at university:Significance of personal goals in the regulation strategies of students with positive and negative appraisals. Higher Education Research and Development, 25, 341-356.

Link to presentations: Blog and presentaion


D1 – (EX48, EX41, EX49) 15.30

2012 Question time: stimulating participation in lectures via mobile devices

Ben Abell

Students used their web-enabled phones to answer questions during lecture sessions, and worked as small groups to maximise participation and peer learning. The main tool tested was Google Docs Forms, which can be accessed via the internet and is easy to set up, although other tools such as Polleverywhere and ConnectTxt receive input from SMS texts, and offer an alternative way of capturing student answers. 

Questions were mostly in multiple-choice format, and were integrated into the presentation to promote immediate engagement. Answers were collated to generate an overall group response, which was presented graphically, and used as a discussion point to deal with common misconceptions. 

The need for such technology arises from the difficulty of promoting active learning in lectures, especially with larger student groups, a problem acknowledged in science teaching (Handelsman et al. 2004. Science

304: 521-522) and more widely. Although responses can be received using specialised devices, the logistical difficulty of obtaining and distributing these devices has reduced their use. Instead, the extensive ownership of smart-phones provides an opportunity to increase direct student participation throughout lectures, so this trial was implemented specifically in the Biosciences module ‘Plant Physiology and Anatomy’ (Jan-April 2012), but the approach has the potential to be applied to any subject area. 

Student feedback was very positive, with perceived benefits of engaging more actively with the lecture content, particularly via peer learning. Problems with the approach centred on access to mobile devices and class management, which could be addressed with greater support.

Presentation:  Mobile learning

D7 – (EN28, EN11, EN22, EN56) 15.30