NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Course Descriptions

Productive Group Work

EDUC 600

Collaborative group work is a necessary part of good teaching and is proven to be a powerful learning strategy. By aligning research-based principles with practical classroom techniques, productive group work engages students by providing them with content and opportunities to develop their understanding as they move to independent learning.  Productive cooperative learning also provides teachers the time to spend with students in need of additional instruction by placing the responsibility on the student and developing student competence and independence. 

In order for students to be part of a knowledgeable, responsible, and caring group, they must be motivated to learn, to understand risks and opportunities, and to appreciate the needs and concerns of others.  This course provides a practical guide to help students establish high quality social and emotional interactions, which enables them to be effective in all aspects of their lives, especially in school.

By combining social and emotional guidelines for educators with specific strategies to engage students, build teamwork, and promote understanding this course explains how to create the right circumstances for group learning so that students build on one another’s understanding and end up knowing more than they would have working alone.


As a result of participation in this course, students should:

  1. Develop group work that promotes positive interaction and interdependence.
  2. Ensure group and individual accountability
  3. Assess how well a student is learning.
  4. Increase essential interpersonal skills, such as listening, giving useful feedback, and considering different points of view.
  5. Improve creative thinking and problem solving.
  6. Enhance organizational effectiveness and leadership
  7. Create a receptive climate for learning.
  8. Use a variety of exercises and assessments to identify levels of performance in creative thinking and problem solving.


The required reading is found in 2 texts and 4 journal articles. The required texts are:

Frey, N, Fisher, D., & Everlove, S. (2009 ). Productive Group Work. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Elias, M.J., Zins, J.E, Weissberg, R.P., Frey, K.S., Greenberg, M.T., Haynes,N.M., Kessler, R.,           Schwab-Stone, .E., Shriver, T.P. (1997). Promoting Social and Emotional Learning: Guidelines for Educators. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.