1st Edition

Making Team Projects Work A College Instructor's Guide to Successful Student Groupwork

By Timothy M. Franz, Lauren A. Vicker Copyright 2025
    236 Pages 62 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    236 Pages 62 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This user-friendly manual walks instructors step by step through the process of creating, assigning, and executing successful group projects at the college level.

    Informed by a simple input-process-output model of group behavior, this guide provides structured advice, examples, and worksheets to design and facilitate effective team projects. Topics include assigning teams, developing meaningful tasks, fostering leadership, managing conflict, communicating effectively, and supporting teams in an online environment. Each chapter features sections and readymade handouts that speak directly to students, making it easy for educators to share content with their student teams and spend valuable classroom time teaching course material rather than team skills.

    Whether in person or online, Making Team Projects Work will be a valuable companion for any college educator interested in incorporating group projects into their curricula.

    1. Welcome to Making Team Projects Work  2. Creating Effective Team Members  3. Designing an Effective Team Task  4. Setting a Positive Team Context  5. Setting Norms and Clarifying Roles  6. Building Effective Team Leadership  7. Creating Motivated Team Members  8. Fostering Effective Team Communication  9. Providing Team Problem-Solving Skills  10. Managing Team Conflict  11. Creating Successful Virtual Team Projects  12. Evaluating Teams: Task and Members  13. Concluding Comments to Making Team Projects Work


    Timothy M. Franz is Professor of Psychology at St. John Fisher University, USA. He has authored or co-authored five books, over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and many practical articles. He presents about improving leaders and teams at international conferences and in many organizations.

    Lauren A. Vicker is Communications Professor Emeritus at St. John Fisher University, USA. She has researched, published, and presented in the areas of group dynamics, professional communication, including business and healthcare, diversity hiring, and applied mass communication theory. She is a marketing and social media volunteer for several non-profit organizations.

    Placing students into groups is a classic instructional method. Yet sometimes students and instructors need supplemental guidance to make group work successful rather than frustrating. If you use student group projects as an instructional method this is a must-have book. This practical resource offers a wealth of information, tips, and instructional strategies to facilitate working and learning in small groups.  Highly recommended.

    Steven A. Beebe, Regents’ and University Distinguished Professor, Texas State University, USA, and Co-author, Communicating in Small Groups: Principles and Practices


    As a university professor in a large business school for the last 30 years, I know the value of group projects but have struggled with facilitating them well. I welcome this book. The authors have written a practical and concise treatment to enable group project success. This helpful handbook is full of excellent examples of the challenges those of us with group projects face, and useful solutions to those challenges. I highly recommend this book to anyone teaching with group projects. 

    Ellen F. Monk, Department of Accounting and MIS, Lerner College of Business & Economics, University of Delaware, USA


    The adage "we are better together" rings true in every educational setting. Students learn best when they learn from each other. As a past teacher at the college and high school level, I often used group projects for two purposes: One, so students can blend their knowledge and past experiences to produce great work. And two, to teach students how to work collaboratively as a team knowing that this is a critical life skill needed to thrive in today's global community. Now as a school administrator, I often observe teachers who employ team projects, but forget to establish guides and norms to help the team thrive. The authors of this book provide educators with a detailed guide on how students should collaborate to not only produce a project, but to learn critical life skills that can push the team to efficient new heights. This is a must read for teachers who want to get the very best out of their student teams. I highly recommend this book and will incorporate its practices in my district.

    Michael V. Ginestre, Superintendent of Schools, Sweet Home Central School District, USA


    For teachers/professors, this is the book that has been missing from your shelves! Making Team Projects Work answers those questions you have had and many you have not even raised about how to improve group/team projects and processes.  The authors provide angles from both small group communication and psychology to lay out the best paths. Highly readable and intensely practical, this book offers practical suggestions, guidelines, and tips on making the most of group learning.  I highly recommended this text as a guide and an upgrade to your approach to teaching.

    Tom Proietti, Resident Media Scholar, St. John Fisher College, USA


    Tim and Lauren have provided a sorely-needed resource to educators who utilize team-based learning. Their research-based book addresses the big-picture process of team learning, as well as the nitty-gritty “tricks of the trade.” It’s full of examples, mini case studies, and practical assessments and activities. I will definitely be using it as a guide for my own teaching.

    Mike Palanski, Professor of Management at Rochester Institute of Technology, USA