About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 2454-2461
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain


E. Benetti1, C. De Castro2

2IEIIT-CNR, National Research Council of Italy (ITALY)
In the current labour market [1, 2], high-dimension problems must often be managed working in large teams [3-5]. The task can involve different disciplines, leading people with heterogeneous backgrounds to a close cooperation.

Students must be prepared to face these situations and a great deal of very important work can be done at school through workgroup [7, 8]. In this way, the young can acquire a sense of cooperation and coordination with other people and among different tasks.

To adapt the management of a high-dimension problem to a school environment, a hierarchical representation of tasks is discussed and a similar one proposed for groups.

As for task representation [9-12], the problem is divided in “elementary subtasks”, the 0th layer of the hierarchy. Subtasks are then partitioned into "main subtasks"; each of them must be carried out and reach a coordination point. Such points represent the 1st layer of the hierarchy. The 2nd layer is the whole task and is supposed to be completed when the points in layer 1 reach a stable condition of coordination.
The second hierarchy represents students and is organized in a parallel way: the 0th layer consists of all the students, then divided in groups, each in charge of a main subtask. Each group has a coordinator [13-15], who is assigned two duties:
(1) follow the group work (intra-coordination);
(2) represent the group when each main subtask is ready to be coordinated with the others (inter-coordination).

Each main subtask is represented in a twofold way, since it has two kind of requirements:
(1) internal ones, independent of the others and
(2) external, i.e. specific inputs that must arrive as a result of other main subtasks.

The same kind of vision can be applied to students: a group has internal requirements to be fulfilled, but also needs to receive inputs from other groups, in terms of results and contacts with other people. Coordinators are meant to be responsible of appropriate results exchange and communication during all the subtasks execution. When this phase is over, only coordinators participate to the last phase, i.e. another cooperative workgroup session for integrating all the main subtasks.

Beyond this model, a further one is proposed, where both hierarchies vary over time: in particular, the phase of main subtasks execution and coordination is seen as a series of intermediate results and coordination sessions along the whole work duration.

Practically applied to a school environment, this model aims at showing students that large problems can and must generally be divided into smaller ones and that an appropriate assignment of subtasks to different groups can help to solve the problem better and quickly than facing it as a whole.

As a practical example, the problem of setting up a new computer is illustrated. In particular, the following main subtasks are deepened and managed by distinct groups: install the machine and its components (cables, peripherals, etc.); install the software of each component that needs it; install an antivirus; connect the computer to the Internet; understand which are the actual needs of the class and choose some basic software accordingly, such as office suites, a browser (if not installed yet), etc. Since this example is thought for a school, the fundamental phase of know-how exchange is also supposed to take place, where coordinators are in charge of explaining their own subgroup results and knowledge acquired.
author = {Benetti, E. and De Castro, C.},
series = {7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-2484-0},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {17-19 November, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {2454-2461}}
AU - E. Benetti AU - C. De Castro
SN - 978-84-617-2484-0/2340-1095
PY - 2014
Y1 - 17-19 November, 2014
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2014 Proceedings
SP - 2454
EP - 2461
ER -
E. Benetti, C. De Castro (2014) A HIERARCHICAL FRAMEWORK FOR GROUPWORK MANAGEMENT, ICERI2014 Proceedings, pp. 2454-2461.