Observations of Student Behavior in Collaborative Learning Groups
In an effort to determine how our students were responding to the use of collaborative learning groups in our large enrollment introductory astronomy (ASTRO 101) courses, we systematically observed the behavior of 270 undergraduate students working in 48 self-formed groups. Their observed behaviors were classified as: (i) actively engaged; (ii) watching actively; (iii) watching passively; and (iv) disengaged. We found that male behavior is consistent regardless of the sex-composition of the groups. However, females were categorized as watching passively and or disengaged significantly more frequently when working in groups that contained uneven numbers of males and females. This case study observation suggests that faculty who use collaborative learning groups might find that the level of student participation in collaborative group learning activities can depend on the sex-composition of the group.
Adams, J. P., Brissenden, G., Lindell, R. S., Slater, T. F., & Wallace, J. 2001, Astronomy Education Review, 1(1), p.25–32