Group Project in Management Decision Making and Problem Solving

In Matthew Puma’s online course, Management Decision Making and Problem Solving, students take part in a course-long group project focused on real-world problems. Students use a variety of tools to support their project work: private discussions, team wikis, and mind-mapping software and other tools. The instructor has carefully scaffolded project work by distributing the project across modules, including the use of multiple milestones and a wiki for transparency of student work.

(For more information about the project, click on the above image)

Course objectives targeted by the project:

  • Apply decision making and problem solving tools to real problem situations and recognize which tools are appropriate to apply to specific stages in decision making processes.
  • Apply a variety of tools for representing problem situations, including visual diagrams and question frameworks and recognize the central role of problem definition in successful problem solving practices.
  • Apply a variety of tools for evaluating alternative solutions, including quantitative (weighted value, decision trees) and discursive (pros/cons, dialogue) approaches.
  • Develop judgment regarding the use of problem solving tools in systematic problem solving situations, recognizing various types of problem situations and the tools that are most appropriate for each.
  • Develop habits that embody reflective practice for the application of thinking tools and that sustain ongoing systematic improvement in decision making.


Rubrics and Guidelines for Group Work

The Engage Site at the University of Wisconsin has an entire page dedicated to structuring group work. Highlighting a few of their sample forms around structuring and assessing group work:

  • Group Processing form : Allows team to analyze how the team is functioning (effective communication, priority-setting,etc). The items in this analysis are geared towards how the group works as a unit. This could be easily adapted to be an online survey.
  • Assessing Group Effectiveness : This form asks students to analyze the goals of the group and each individual group member’s contributions toward the goal.
  • Group work rubric: Rubric scaled 1-4, comprised of criteria such as: cooperation, focus on task, communication/information-sharing
These three forms in particular seem helpful for guiding students in thinking about how their team should function effectively and asking them to reflect on the team’s work together as one unit. 



Designing Motivating Scenario-Based Wiki Activities

The following webinar was presented via TeachU Ohio and features Dr. Jan Schmittauer’s presentation of an engaging blog and wiki based activity surrounding the novel Testimony by Anita Shreve. The students’ ultimate goal is to determine which of six character should be held the most accountable for the death of a student in the story. Via blog posts and group work in team wikis the students then proceed to whittle down which person they feel holds the most responsibility for this tragedy via debate and textual evidence from the book. Each day another character is “voted off the island of accountability” until only one remains. A final blog post, at the end of the process, allows students to reflect on whether or not their initial perception has stayed the same or changed. Click here to watch the webinar and learn more. You can also download a copy of the presentation.

Getting to Know Your Classmates Through VoiceThread

Instructor: Carmin Karasic

Description: Carmin uses VoiceThread in the following manner when teaching online:

  • Students visited the course VoiceThread, and added their own introductions. Students were encouraged to add a photograph and a video introduction. Those who could not record a video were allowed to add a brief audio clip, or even a text narrative for their introductions. The students were then able to view each other’s introductions, all in one place!
  • Online debate – Carmin created a page for students to post three “Pro” and three “Con” arguments. Students posted audio comments, followed by their cited evidence as text.

To learn more about this process and the tools Carmin utilizes please click here.

Example:  Welcome to Ecomp 7100

Learning Team Charter

(Click on image to open PDF version )

Author:  This form based on example from Seton Hall University featured in: Ubell, Robert, ed. Virtual Teamwork: The Art and Practice of Online Learning and Corporate Collaboration. Hoboken: NJ, 2010.

Description: The purpose of this charter is to establish team ground rules and methods of conflict management. Please click here to access the Word form version of this document.