March 26 @ 14:30 - 16:00

Register here

Who among us has not experienced the frustrations of setting up dysfunctional groups,  leading to complaints from dissatisfied students?  Who among us doesn’t feel the obstacles of setting up group work as insurmountable now that we face the added challenge of doing group work all online during the pandemic? All this in the context of knowing that group work allows our students to engage more deeply with the course content, the discipline, and their own learning. It also helps them improve vital soft skills such as communication, leadership, and collaboration. But where can we turn for guidance? Have you ever tried asking a colleague or reading one of the myriads of articles? It’s difficult to know what to believe given the conflicting information, but take heart! SALTISE is bringing together several experts whose combined and ongoing work on the topic offer important insights on how to make and manage effective student groups.

On February 26th and again on March 26th, the two-part webinar will take a close and extended look at the challenges of building and managing effective student teams. Over these two sessions, we will discuss evidence-based strategies for building effective teams. Topics will include self- vs. teacher-selection of group composition, comparing and contrasting homogeneous and heterogeneous group formation, and how these choices interact with student learning and classroom orchestration. Special attention will be given to the often-overlooked considerations such as minority isolation and special needs.

March 26th, Part 2, RESEARCH TO PRACTICE. Our panel will delve into the literature to try and elucidate best practices from seemingly contradictory findings, and how these can guide the development of your own practice.

Presenters & Discussants include:

Kelly Miller, Senior Preceptor of Applied Physics, Harvard University, and co-founder of social annotation software Perusall, along with fellow Harvard professors Eric Mazur, Gary King, and Brian Lukoff, University of Texas at Austin.

Joss Ives, a tenure-track Instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His research is in the field of Physics Education

Michael Dugdale, college Professor at John Abbott College, Montreal, Canada

Phoebe Jackson, a college professor at John Abbott College and SALTISE Fellow for 2020-21

More on the invited speaker and panel members: 

Kelly Miller: Miller received her Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University in 2014. Her Ph.D.  focused on the use of technology and interactive teaching strategies in undergraduate physics classrooms. She currently teaches an introductory physics class for engineering undergraduates at Harvard using a flipped classroom approach. She is a co-founder of Perusall, a social annotation platform that helps prepare students for class. Kelly is actively involved in Physics Education Research (PER) and has presented both nationally and internationally on topics of flipped classroom, impact of social annotation and improving the effectiveness of group work.

Miller, K., Lukoff, B., King, G., & Mazur, E. (2018, March). Use of a social annotation Platform for Pre-class reading assignments in a Flipped introductory Physics class. In Frontiers in education (Vol. 3, p. 8). Frontiers.

Miller, K., Zyto, S., Karger, D., Yoo, J., & Mazur, E. (2016). Analysis of student engagement in an online annotation system in the context of a flipped introductory physics class. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(2), 020143.

Oliveira, T. E. D., Miller, K. A., Araujo, I. S., & Mazur, E. (2019). Reducing the gender gap in students’ physics self-efficacy in a team-and project-based introductory physics class. Physical Review Physics Education Research. New York. Vol. 15, no. 1 (Jan./June 2019), 010132, 9 p.

Joss Ives: Joss Ives is a Physics Instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley. He received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan (2003) and a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics from the University of British Columbia (2008). During his doctoral studies he co-founded the UBC Physics and Astronomy teaching assistant professional development program. His primary research is focused on evaluating the benefits of assessment that support learning, assignments that require learning before class, and collaborative group work in his own courses. He is also in the process of remodeling his Advanced Laboratory course in the format of a physics research group, with the students taking on the role of apprentice scientists and the instructor taking on the role of research supervisor.

Michael Dugdale: Michael is a senior member of the physics department at John Abbott College in Montreal, is a Ph.D. candidate in Didactique at the Université de Montréal, a member of an established learning sciences and physics education research (PER) team, and a long-term member of SALTISE.  Michael’s teaching includes the use of several evidence-based approaches including Peer Assessment. His research interests include: conceptual change and the development of students’ epistemic frames in science and how pedagogical technologies and laboratory design can be used to support these areas of student growth.


Phoebe Jackson: Phoebe holds a Ph.D. in Education from McGill University, a B.Ed. and B.Sc. (Hons.) from the University of British Columbia. She is a physics teacher at John Abbott College in Montreal and a SALTISE S4 Fellow. Phoebe has been designing and implementing active learning in her teaching for more than 16 years and was the recipient of the 2020 Best Practice & Pedagogical Innovators Award from SALTISE. Prior to her position at John Abbott College, Phoebe taught elementary through high school in a variety of locations including British Columbia, India, Australia, and Quebec. She has also worked as a sessional lecturer in math and science education at McGill University.