CSC302 - Teamwork Notes

All course assignments involve teamwork. Each team should have approx 6-7 members. Your teams will be assigned by the instructor, and announced during the first week of the course. Here are some rules and suggestions to ensure that your teamwork is effective and productive throughout the term.

Getting to know your team

We'll announce the teams during the first week of the course. Please make contact with the other members of you your team prior to your first tutorial. Throughout the term you should make sure that you attend the tutorials as a team.

By the end of week 2, you should have held your first team meeting, selected a name for your team, and ensured that all team members are familiar with the course project, and can access the project portal, DrProject. You must fill out the team information sheet and give it to your tutor by the end of your second tutorial.

Managing a team

The first thing to do is to find some times when you can all meet as a team (we ask you to decide on the times for these on the team information sheet). If you decide to drop the course, please notify your partners and the tutor/professor as early as possible.

It takes some effort to ensure that a team functions properly. At the very least, all teams are advised to do the following:

Note that all the assignments during the term are team assignments. Each team submits one report for each assignment. The reports will be graded, and in general, all members of the team will receive the same grade. In exceptional circumstances, the prof may decide to give some members of a team a different grade than others. In such cases, the prof will discuss this with all team members before the adjustment is made.

You may want to assign overall responsibility for the various tasks involved in each assignment to a particular team member. Alternatively, you may want to assign specific roles to team members, such as:

These are only suggestions - decide amongst yourselves what division of responsibility makese sense. Make sure all team members have a say and are knowledgeable about all aspects of each assignment, even if one person has responsibility for particular tasks.

Handling collaboration problems

If you have problems (because one team member is not showing up or is not carrying his/her weight) report these to the professor or your tutor immediately. We'll try to either help the team get back together, or make alternative arrangements.

Doing assignments

Assignments 2, 3, and 4 are cumulative - each depends (to some extent) on your success in the earlier assignments. This means that if you make a mess of the earlier assignments, especially through lack of team coordination, it can affect your ability to complete the later assignments. To avoid problems,  try to keep up a steady pace of work and quality control for your assignments. Use the features of the sofware version management system (Subversion) to roll back to an earlier versions of your code if necessary. In an extreme case, you can always revert back to the original codebase.

Self-evaluation of team members contributions

With each submitted assignment, you will fill out a peer evaluation form for each of your team mates (including yourself). These provide a mechanism for you to assess how well your team mates participated in the team effort. Note that you are not rating your teammates' academic performance, but rather the effort they contributed to the team project.

Plan for an equal contribution  by each team member. Alternatives are messy, unrewarding and time-consuming for everyone! If you find that some members of your team are not pulling their weight, address the problem as quickly as possible - the longer you leave it before taking action, the worse the problem will get (and no, the problem won't go away if you ignore it). The essay on hitchhikers and couch potatoes suggests some useful strategies.

Midterm Team Restructuring

Halfway through the term, after submitting assignment 2, you will be given a once-only opportunity to alter the team composition. You can ask the instructor to dissolve your team entirely, or to remove any particular person from the team (including yourself!). However, the instructor will not take any action without first meeting with the entire team. During this meeting, all members of the team will be expected to describe the problems and to actively listen to the other points of view. If this meeting does not resolve the problem, we will discuss options to restructure the team for the remaining assignments. The instructor will then carry out the agreed changes to the team composition.

If you wish to request a meeting with the instructor to discuss a potential restructuring, you must do this prior to the end of reading week (i.e. by Friday 24th Feb). All restructuring decisions must be completed by the end of the day on Monday 27th Feb.

Plagiarism and Collusion

You might ponder how the need for teamwork assignment interacts with university rules on plagiarism and collusion. To help you understand what is okay and what is not okay, you should understand how the university regulations on plagiarism and collusion apply to team projects. Here is a quote from the relevant section of the calendar:

"It shall be an offence for a student knowingly [...] to represent as one's own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism;"

For team projects, with team assignments, plagiarism shall be interpreted as any situation in which one team knowingly submits work that was carried out by (members of) another team, without explicitly declaring that this is the case. This will include collusion, i.e. any situation in which two or more teams work together to complete an assignment such that it is not possible to determine what each team did separately. Hence, if you use ideas or work of others as part of completing your assignments, you should be very careful to distinguish the work of your team from the work of others.

See also:


Talk to your tutor or the professor.