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High Impact Practices (HIPs)

Collaborative Projects

Make Collaboration High Impact

Although we all likely use collaboration naturally in our classes, for collaborative projects to be truly High Impact, there need to be a few intentionally designed elements:

  • sustained time on task (longer than 1-2 classes)
  • purposeful team building especially with those with different backgrounds and life experiences
  • challenging problem solving
  • sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others
  • public demonstration of competence
  • reflection


Why Collaborative Projects?

Social Benefits

  • Develops a social support system for learners
  • Builds an understanding of diversity among Team members

Psychological Benefits

  • Increases students’ self-esteem
  • Cooperation reduces anxiety

Academic Benefits

  • Promotes critical thinking
  • Engages active learning
  • Increases student motivation to learn

Benefits of Collaborative Learning (Laal & Ghodsi, 2011)

Want to Learn More?

HIPS Collaborative Projects can be achieved in two basic formats at PPCC: a group project or a study group.


Design for Collaborative Projects

1. Decide on the student learning outcomes you want to emphasize through a project. Also decide on project ideas that best fit your course.

2. Design the group project in phases, like these problem-solving steps

  • Define the problem. Ask "why" or "so what" to problem; collect information; decide causes.
  • Identify the best solution. Generate alternatives, evaluate, and select.
  • Implement solutions. Plan, test, and review.

3. Give students choices, like team roles, topics, presentation style.

4. Include some individual components, like reflective questions or researched facts.

5. Schedule time for group set up, work, and reflection.

  • Have students get to know each other
  • Review the Tuckman Model for reflection on team dynamics
  • Review roles and responsibilities.
  • Prepare students to solve problems and create processes
  • Regularly ask reflective questions


Design for a Collaborative Study Group

Tuckman Model for Team Dynamics

the flow beginning with Forming, then Storming, then Norming, then Performing, and finally Adjourning

Source:; Okpalad, based on Tuckman and Jensen (1977)


Collaborative Project Resources

This page provides an overview - along with tools, discussion, prompts, and other resources - to help faculty develop Collaborative Projects and Assignments coursework.

Example Collaborative Assignments

Below you will find several examples of collaborative project assignments that have been used in PPCC courses. These samples may include: assignment descriptions and details, grading rubric examples, examples of team/peer and individual project evaluation, and examples of student papers/projects. Included next to each example is the instructor who developed the assignment and the course in which it originated. 

End Lunch Shaming (Andrea Ulrich for HWE100 - Human Nutrition)

     ​This can be used for guidance when adapting the Collaborative Project Team Packet for your own course. 

Misuse of Graphics Group Project (Karen Summerson for MAT 135)

Adaptable Math Collaborative Assignment

Food Insecurity at PPCC - Small Group Project (Ann Cushman for MAT 125)




Student entrepreneur Kalie Baker and her team arranged a trial launch of mobile Aspen Market Cafe (pictured) in Fall 2018. Various members of the PPCC faculty/staff community, including Betsy Tuma, Patricia Diawara, Matthew Valdez, Warren Epstein, and Matt Radcliffe provided advice and support for the project.

Coffee and best-selling muffins were "carted" to strategic locations on campus. Kali and Heather have agreed to continue to work together into the Spring of 2019.

“I was lucky enough to have more than a couple classes where we did group work, where the outcomes of our projects made a real-world difference.” -A student describes the value of opportunities to network, prepare career paths, and demonstrate learning through community projects.

HIPs Faculty Specialists are peer experts who are ready to assist fellow faculty to implement or improve high impact practices.

Andrea Ulrich

Have general HIPs questions? Contact: 

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