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Douglas Adams and Erica Estes present an example of High Impact Practice 5: Collaborative Assignments and Projects. This example focuses on an assignment which encourages students to interact in class to solve problems related to course content.

High Impact Practice (HIP) 5: Collaborative Assignments and Projects

3 Questions: Using HIP Collaborative Class Assignments and Life Design

Douglas Adams, associate professor in the department of Sociology and Criminology, and Erica Estes, Director of Employer Relations for Fulbright College, gave a presentation titled, “3 Questions: Using HIP Collaborative Class Assignments and Life Design.”

According to Adams and Estes, “George Kuh described high impact practices as educational experiences that require time and effort, involve collaboration with others and include feedback, such as a collaborative assignment or project.” Doug Adams “uses a collaborative classroom project technique that uses life design concepts and 3 questions to illustrate the value of using social connections, prototyping low risk ideas, and growth mindset to teach career development concepts. Adams has been using “Increasing and Enhancing Social Interaction” in his sociology courses as an example of using student collaborative group learning to teach key course concepts. This social interaction classroom activity serves multiple purposes: 1) students practice professional social interaction 2) students collaboratively brainstorm solutions to problems 3) students are given feedback on their solutions 4) students learn Stanford’s Designing Your Life concepts.”
For this assignment, Adams has 5 steps.  
  1. Students must form groups of 3. 
  2. Students must move to different parts of the room.
  3. Students must introduce themselves to eachother using their first and last names.
  4. Students are assigned a 5 minute “problem” to solve.
  5. Students must put answers to the problem on a card and the cards are projected to show the wisdom of the groups.

This assignment allows for collaboration and creativity while reducing anxiety among students. This assignment can be repeated 2-3 times in a class and encourages pre and post class interactions among students. It builds on networking skills, allows for immediate feedback on the ideas, and results in stronger answers to the problems they are addressing. 

This presentation can be downloaded and viewed as a pdf: HIP Chats- Erica Estes and Douglas Adams

For more about High Impact Practices and HIP 5: Collaborative Assignments and Projects, see HIPs: High Impact Practices

This content was developed from a presentation at “Are We H.I.P. Enough? A Retreat Showcasing High Impact Practices on Campus” coordinated by Brande Flack, Danielle Dunn, and Deborah Korth and sponsored by the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education and the Offices of Student Success.