Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Project Work with Small Self-Controlled Groups
Originator Brian Paul Hindle
Department Department of Geography, University of Salford, M5 4WT
Tel. +44 (0)161-745-54750
Fax. +44 (0)161-745-55015

The 'Project' was originally conceived under the University 'Capability' scheme in 1987, and then continuously revised and improved under the Enterprise in HE scheme, and since.

The aims are to give students experience of research, defining and solving problems, whilst working in small, self-controlled groups. Students are given a large amount of responsibility, and perceive the Project as both relevant and practical.

Students are divided in groups of 7-8, and undertake two Group Projects. In year 1 they choose a topic suggested by a staff member, and in Year 2 they define their own problem. In both cases, staff act as consultants rather than leaders. Students choose their own group leaders, allocate jobs, run meetings, plan, budget, collect/analyse data, and present their results in both written and oral presentations. Most work is done in students' own time.

Skills sessions are given in associated modules in Semester 1 each year, and the Projects run in Semester 2. Skills include: writing, computing, numeracy, statistics, cartography, and research design. Professional, managerial and personal skills acquired include: organising, planning, group working, and communication.

Continuous assessment is divided into Individual and Group marks (50% each). Individual work includes short talks, contribution to group work, and a personal portfolio. Group work includes the plan & budget, and the verbal & written presentation; for this, all students in each group receive the same mark. Marks from interviews also contribute (see separate entry).

Relevant reference:


Defining problems
Group work
Problem solving

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Page created 3 February 1997
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