Building Community and Leveraging Technology to Improve Student Outcomes

Teams + Tech = Flexibility + Community


  • Sarah Birdsong UNC Charlotte


group, groups, team, teams, Ziteboard, YouTube


Students working together in preassigned, semester-long teams results in a strong sense of community in the classroom, which in turn improves course outcomes.  How the teams are formed and what type of activities use teamwork will greatly affect student success (positive, negative, or neutral).  By balancing team activities that are graded individually vs. as a team, you show the students that everyone needs to pull their own weight, which is beneficial for both the stronger and weaker students.

This poster focuses on technology I typically use for activities graded as a team:  Ziteboard and YouTube.  Ziteboard, an online shared whiteboard, originally facilitated teamwork in real-time for synchronous courses.  However, I’ve continued using it for face-to-face classes since it allows for flexibility (ie: sick or out-of-town students can still participate) as well as for personal contact from instructors for each team, regardless of class size or location of the students in the room since the instructor can see each team’s work in the app.  I’ve used YouTube playlists for out-of-class team (video) presentations.  This allows for both reduced anxiety for presentations as well as a course resource the students can reference.