CATME SMARTER Teamwork
What is CATME?
CATME is a web-based application that can facilitate student teamwork. It is a licensed resource, developed by Purdue, that has seen extensive use since 2005. CATME states, and through instructor review, that it can be used to:
- Gather information from, and give feedback to, students.
- Understand their student team’s process, team-member’s contributions, and student perspective and experience.
- Be aware of problems occurring in the student teams.
- Hold students accountable for contributing to their teams.
- Use best practices when managing student team experiences.
Development of the resource takes many factors into consideration that faculty are concerned about.
- Creating diverse groups
- Ensuring student roles are dynamic and not static
- Authentic peer evaluation and not a “one-for-all” student evaluation
- Monitoring student teamwork and development
- Working with course sizes of all types
Noted: if you are interested in using the Canvas quiz results to form teams, please visit the Team Maker site to learn more about it.
Services Provided by CATME
Team Maker allows the instructor to select the number of students per group and create a survey from a diverse set of criteria. If a criterion does not exist the instructor may write their own questions that CATME will incorporate into the assessment. Some of the criteria that CATME lists are:
- Grade-Point Average (GPA)
- Prerequisite Courses
- Software Skills
- Writing Skills
- Hands-On Skills
- Shop Skills
- Leadership Preferences
- Commitment Level
The weight of each criterion can be adjusted after the survey is completed by the students so the instructor can condense what is important. For best group development it is recommended to not use too many criteria and focus on the ones that are most important for the course/instructor.
The students will take a survey and CATME will maximize the worst-fitting team. This ensures that the best groups have been created based off the criteria that the instructor lists as important or not important.
CATME will then give the list of groups and everyone in the groups for the instructor to be able to use. It needs to be stated that CATME is not integrated into CANVAS. To use CATME you will need to use the web-client. However, once the groups are created, you can create those same groups in Canvas.
One of the main concerns with group work is student contribution and peer evaluation based around that contribution. Often the students are afraid to state anything in the peer evaluation. Through the information that is collected via the website some of the flags that are generated for the instructor to view are:
- Low – A student who rates him/herself as ineffective and who also receives “ineffective” ratings by teammates.
- Overconfident – A student rated as “ineffective” by teammates but rates him/herself much more effective.
- High – A student who is rated as highly effective according to both teammate and self-ratings.
- Underconfident – A student rated as highly effective by teammates but who under-rates her/himself.
- Manipulator – A student who rates him/herself as highly effective and who rates teammates as ineffective in disagreement with teammates. Such a student may be trying to influence the distribution of the grades unfairly.
- Conflict – A team in which there is considerable disagreement among the various raters about the effectiveness of an individual student.
- Clique – A team in which cliques appear to have formed. The ratings show that subsets of the team rate members of their subset high and members of the other subset low.
These are not exact definitions. When a label appears it is up to the instructor to discuss with the group/individual potential issues. Data generated and uploaded can be used with Microsoft Excel.
To further assist students with providing better feedback, CATME offers a simulation. In this simulation students are given fake and hypothetical teammates with given traits. The student is then asked to rate this fiction teammates according to the 5 CATME dimensions. At the end of the simulation the students are given feedback on their ratings and how they can improve their feedback.
Students, when meeting for their group work, may have difficulty planning, executing, and evaluating the team’s work. To prevent ineffective group meetings CATME offers Meeting Support to help alleviate issues the students may have.
Two documents are provided to student teams that allow them to get to know each other. The first is the CATME Team-Member Preparation document that is passed from one student to the next in the group via e-mail or a shared location. This allows the students to share information on preferences in communication, previous knowledge, skills, abilities, and other relevant information.
The CATME Team Charter document, completed during the first team meeting, makes sure to get input from all team members. This document summarizes critical information about team member’s preferred methods of contact and their strengths and weaknesses related to the project. It then leads the team through a discussion about how team members will interact to accomplish the team’s work. Completing the team charter requires team members to come to agreement about team goals and what is expected of team members
Meeting Agendas and Minutes
The use of agendas makes sure the team is focused, know when they are going to meet, for how long, what they are going to be discussing, and how long each individual point will be discussed for. A team member will be designated as the recording secretary or simply the “secretary” and will be responsible for taking the minutes of the meeting. These best practices will make sure that students are focused and organized. It will introduce them to real world practices. The instructor can also keep track of the team’s progression by viewing the minutes themselves.
Instructor and Student Support
CATME offers a comprehensive list of support for both instructors and students. This includes, but is not limited to, FAQ’s, videos, example formats, documents, example questions for reviews, and licensed information.
CATME Explanation for Students
Explaining the use of CATME to students may prove daunting. Students may feel micromanaged due to the constant examination. However, CATME offers resources for instructors to be able to show their students what is expected, how CATME is used, and how it will prove more effective than previous group work creators.
Specifically, the CATME Teamwork Dimension Modules were implemented at the Purdue University’s main campus in engineering. These videos can be found here at this link provided.
CATME also shows the CATME 5 Dimension rubric so that students and instructors can clearly see the CATME Dimensions and the explanations associated with them. CATME states that in their experience students have a hard time differentiating average to above average student performers. This rubric allows the students to be able to make better judgement of student performance. The CATME Teamwork Rating Scale rubric is found here at this link provided.
CATME is an NSF backed and supported application that has been developed for years. The research for CATME and its history is provided here at this link provided.