Picking the Right People for the Creative Team

Like many professors, I assign group projects in my classroom. For several years, I labored under the assumption that giving students free rein to choose their teammates would result in better teamwork, if for no other reason than the exercise of freedom of choice. However, most of the time, the student projects were not stellar. And most of the teams were not particularly happy with each other by the end of the term. One year, I decided to do a turn-the-tables experiment, and announced that I was assigning the teams. I did not do it randomly, though. Rather, I dug into students’ biographical ...

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