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Best Practice Case Study: Motivation and teamwork

Zagreb University of Applied Sciences (TVZ): use of the RUEU? game on a 4th year Motivation and Teamwork compulsory module on Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office to examine how changes in European identity might be incorporated into a game.

Stakeholders

The first protoype of the RU EU? Game was used with a group of 40 4th year students on Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ as a part of their course. Course content includes 1.definition, meaning and advantages of teams2.History review., 3.Formulating goals and visions. 4. Defining a value system., 5.Team development according to Katzenbach and Smithu, 6.Principle of elective homogeneity. 7.Functional and team roles, interdependence, synergy. Team growth in conflict. 9.Leadership styles. Situation leadership. 10.Theories of motivation, motivation resultant. 11.application of stratification motivation in team work., 12.Motivation factors, motivation cycle. 13.Hierarchy in a motivation structure., 14.Nonmaterial motivation – problems and benefits., 15.Compensation models. Award and competition. This important module, which prepares students for teamwork in international and multicultural settings, is strongly oriented towards the EU context.  The focus for this Best Practice Case study is to help students to think about European identity as it applies to issues studies within the module.

The students in the 2019-2020 Motivation and teamwork cohort accessed the game in a classroom/lab setting where each student had access to a computer and played the game individually. The students also provided feedback on their views of the prototype of the RU EU? game.

As students in a Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office, these students are part of the intended target group of students for the RU EU? Game, i. e. Social Science and  Business students across Europe.

Narrative

The students on the Motivation and teamwork module spend 15 weeks looking at online and offline teamwork and motivation within teams. Throughout the module, special attention is paid to virtual / online teams and their motivation.

The RU EU? game was used as an example of relationships between motivation and identity, especially as identity changes over time. Students were encouraged to think about how European identity influences their ability to work in teams and especially team management. This links to content that students previously explored within the modules Communication Skills, E-Business, and others.

“Identity issues are never far from the forefront of everyday politics, and both the current European, and wider global, political climates, indicate that we may well be re-entering a political era driven by national rather than international imperatives.” (Leith et al. 2019). These imperatives are expecially prominent in a highly international area of work such as informatics, where more than 50 percent of TVZ graduates pursue work in other European countries. This trend calls for careful examination of EU identity within the course of studies  on Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ. Creators of the RU-EU game argue that it helps players to understand EU identity as a complex, multicomponent construct and how different components are evident in the polarised views about the EU. In the context of Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ, we were especially interested development of students’ self-awareness of EU identity as it plays out in their work.

Embedding in the course / education

As part of the assessment for the Motivation and teamwork module the students are required to carry out group reflection of insights they developed while they played the RU-EU game. Students were divided into 5 groups of 8 students, and each group has discussed their insights for 45 minutes. Then, representatives of each group briefly reported the content of their discussion, and this introduced the final 45-minute long discussion with all 40 students.

According to the RU-EU design team, “It is hoped that the game will provide an engaging platform for young Europeans to confront some of the complex and confusing issues surrounding National and European identity at a time of change and increasing tension across Europe” (Boyle at al. 2019). During conducted small-group and large-group discussion, the students have identified issues across Europe as they reflect to their own work. More than 90 percent of students at the Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ are in some kind of employment, so we largely focused to issues pertaining to work.

To evaluate whether the RU EU? was successful in this aim of increasing the player’s understanding of EU identity, the game uses an “intern” test as a baseline measure of the players’ attitudes to the EU and European identity for later use in evaluating the impact of the game. These tests are incorporated into the game in an interview to assess the player’s suitability for the trainee journalist job. Students at the Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ found the role of an intern a bit unrealistic, as their work is very remote from journalism. The RU EU? game could be used in a similar way in other ‘soft’ modules at the School of Informatics and Computing at TVZ, and also with the students of the Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ. Yet, it would be useful to offer a different role model for the players.

(Learning) Activities and outcomes

Within the practical part of the Motivation and Teamwork module, students at the Polytechnic graduate professional study programme specialization in Informatics Engineering – Informatisation of Office at TVZ are asked to reflect on the following topics: 1.Distinguishing between a team and a working group. 2.Building a team.  3.Planning a team project. 4.Creating team standards. 5.Leadership styles. 6 Introduction to team motivation. 7.Advanced team motivation. 8.Motivation based team leadership. DeBono method. 9.-15. Individual case study. Within the individual case study exercise, which is conducted over a 7-week period 2 hours per week, students need to analyze workings of a real, functioning team. It is within the individual case study, that students were presented with the RU-EU game. Students’ task was to enrich their analyses required for completing the module with an analysis of the role of EU identity.

References

Leith, M.; Boyle, L.; Sim, D.; van der Zwet, A.; Scott, G.; Jimoyiannis, T.; Jandrić, P.; Baalsrud Hauge, J.; Sultana Tany, N. & Hummel, H. (2019). What’s In a Game? A Game-Based Approach to Exploring 21ST Century European Identity and Values. Open Review of Educational Research, 6(1): 12-25. https://doi.org/10.1080/23265507.2018.1562364.

Boyle, E., Baalsrud Hauge, J., Leith, M., Sim, D., Hummel, H., Jandrić, P., & Jimoyiannis, A. (2019). Linking Learning Outcomes and Game Mechanics in the Early Stages of the RU EU? Project. In M. Gentile, M. Allegra, & H. Söbke (Eds.), Games and Learning Alliance. GALA 2018. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 11385 (pp. 191-200). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11548-7_18.