Nicholas Granados-Kramer

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Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2019 Section 5933 (Byrne) | Nicholas Granados-Kramer's Mini-Course

About me

Syracuse University Secondary Science Education, Physics Class of 2017, Currently Enrolled in SUNY Albany in the CDIT masters program. Teaching Physics for Shenendehowa Central School District. In the past I taught middle school Physical Science for the Greater Amsterdam City School district. For fun outside of teaching I spend my time rock climbing, playing ultimate frisbee, training for a triathlon, and just general adventure. The best adventure I had was my cross country road trip post undergraduate graduation. The highlight of this trip was wing walking just outside of Seattle!

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My Topic and Purpose

My Mini-Course topic is focused on using roles in groups in order to maximize groupwork. My focus will be in a High School Physics classroom but the ideas mentioned will be applicable across all grade levels and disciplines. The purpose of choosing this topic is to help improve my own teaching ability in terms of making effective groups, and the use of roles, while also providing other teachers with a new perspective on group work.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course learners will be able to:

1) Identify situations when group work is appropriate.

2) Analyze student strengths in order to determine what role best suits each student for a particular activity.

3) Breakdown techniques for effective facilitation of group roles.

Needs Assessment

1. Instructional Problem

Our world has become increasingly digital. The amount of reliance on technology has never been greater. On top of the focus on collaboration and teamwork has never been more prevalent. The easy answer to collaboration and teamwork is to have students complete group work. But there are many issues with group work, specifically from the student standpoint such as student absences, and putting the work blindly on students (Taylor 2011.) In order to get the most out of your group work, the inclusion of roles will alleviate student stress, and create a more effective learning environment. That not only promotes individual accountability, but can also disrupt stereotypes, and gender roles (Hirshfield and Chachra 2015.)


2. What is to be Learned

This course will be broken down into three parts where learners will have to:

1) Identify situations when group work is appropriate.

2) Analyze student strengths in order to determine what role best suits each student for a particular activity.

3) Breakdown techniques for effective facilitation of group roles. .


3. The Learners

Participants within this course will include teachers in a secondary or higher learning institution.


4. Context for Instruction

Participants will complete the components of this mini-course online from remote locations. This course can be completed at will, students will have to complete assignments on their own time before specific deadlines. However, there will be a discussion section where students will interact with their peers. The only materials required to complete this course are a computer and access to the Internet.


5. Exploring the Instructional Problem and Solution

This course will most likely have a "mixed" group; meaning that some students will have had experience with facilitating group roles while others have had none at all. For the discussion, the students will be put into mixed level groups so that the experienced learners can share what they found so far has worked and what has not worked with facilitating group roles in order to provide examples to the new learners, and new ideas to the more experienced learners.


6. Goals of this Mini-Course

One goal of this course is to improve the teachers' ability to facilitates group roles. Goals also include increasing learner satisfaction, retention, and increasing levels of cognitive presence within learners.


Analysis of the Learner and Context

The Students

This course would work best for those that have little to no experience with using roles in groups, or that have it and feel like they are not using it effectively. Looking at teachers in the school districts I have worked for, most to all teachers use group work in some way shape or form. However many do not use roles in these groups because they do not see the value in them, this course is ideal for these students.

Prerequisite Knowledge

  • Experience teaching a secondary, or higher education setting.
  • Access, and experience using a 1:1 device (i.e. laptop, chromebook, ipad etc.)
  • Have a working GMAIL account in order to access classroom "Google Docs" page
  • Have access to a personal device and internet access as this course is conducted entirely online

Performance-Based Objectives

By the end of the course teachers will be able to perform the following task:

Teachers will be able to create a lesson plan that incorporates using roles in group work with a focus that develops interpersonal, interpretive, and/or presentational communication skills.

Task Analysis

Unit 1:

  • Enabling Goal: Learner will identify situations when the use of group work would be advantageous, and situations where the use of group work would not be advantageous.
  • Lesson: What are situations when group work would be advantageous or not? What makes these situations advantageous or not?
  • Knowledge: Recommended instructor-to-learner interactions both inside and outside of the discussion board; Knowing the advantages, and disadvantages on using group work.
  • Attitudes: Choose to accept that there is not a teaching strategy that will work in every single situation.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Communicate with others in order to determine what situations are most conducive for group work.
  • Skills: Identify advantages, and disadvantages of group work; Communicate effectively with others in order to apply skills learned in this module in order to determine if a situation is conducive to group work.

Unit 2:

  • Enabling Goal: Learner will build a rubric in order to evaluate student strengths and weaknesses. Learners will self-reflect on how these impact their view of students.
  • Lesson: How do you pick groups and roles for students?
  • Knowledge: Recommended important strengths and weaknesses that might factor into choosing roles, and creating groups; tasks associated with group and role assignment.
  • Attitudes: Choose to provide learners with a quality learning experience by creating groups, and choosing roles that allow all students the best opportunity to contribute and succeed.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Collaborate with other learners to identify what strengths and weaknesses are most closely associated with what roles; use discourse to refine your understanding of what an effective group is.
  • Skills: Think critically about your current teaching practice; write a rubric that includes research-backed ways to identify student strengths, and weaknesses.

Unit 3:

  • Enabling Goal: Learner will self-assess, reflect, and predict the quality of their current practices as related to their facilitation of group work, and how implementing roles will change their practices.
  • Lesson: How do you effectively facilitate the use of roles in group work? What instructional strategies are important for keeping learners engaged long term?
  • Knowledge: Recommended instructor-to-learner interactions both inside and outside of the discussion board; the importance instructor-to-learner communication, and learner-to-learner communication; awareness of your own participation.
  • Attitudes: Choose to put learners at the forefront by promoting student communication, and collaboration; commitment to making learners aware of your investment by having a rationale for a group, and role assignment that is in the best interest of all students.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Work with peers to collaboratively reach conclusions about the best methods for facilitating student-centered group work based on both research and personal experiences. Critically consider the opinions and experiences of peers with an open mind and contribute meaningfully to the discussion.
  • Skills: Assess the quality of your own practices.

Pedagogical Approach


Unit 1-3 - Constructivist Learners will participate in discussions in order to refine their understanding of the concepts in the discussion board. Learners will participate in active learning activities to apply these concepts and then reflect on their learning via the reflection blog.

Curriculum Map

Bellow, you will find an attached pdf for the curriculum map

File:Curriculum Map .pdf

References and Resources

Hirshfield, L., & Chachra, D. (2015). Task choice, group dynamics and learning goals: Understanding student activities in teams. 2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference: Launching a New Vision in Engineering Education Proceedings, FIE 2015, 1-5.

Larson, M. & Lockee, B. (2014). Streamline ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design. New York, NY: Routledge

Moog, R.S. (2014). Process oriented guided inquiry learning. In M.A. McDaniel, R. F. Frey, S.M. Fitzpatrick, & Roediger, H.L. (Eds.). Integrating cognitive science with innovative teaching in STEM disciplines (147-166). St. Louis: Washington University in St. Louis Libraries.

Taylor, A. (2011). Top 10 reasons students dislike working in small groups… and why I do it anyway. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 39(3), 219-220.