The way students communicate with each other and with faculty have dramatically changed through the years. Increased use of e-mail and texting has diminished face-to-face interaction. Consequently, students are experiencing a sense of isolation, increased anxiety, and an inability to connect with each other as well as with their professors. Team formation in the accounting classroom was considered to examine the impact on students’ course grade. The goal was to determine the effect of team formation on the students’ overall course experience. The academic and personal implications were determined by an examination of students’ grades, observation of teams, and interviews with team members.
Students were organized into teams of 5 to 6 students and participated in team activities throughout the semester. Team activities included class presentations, in-class assignments, homework, and organized exam preparation/review sessions. Two entry-level accounting classes were examined and compared to their counterparts who studied exclusively in an individual learning environment.
The classes in which team formation was implemented resulted in higher academic achievement; increased student passing rate, increased class attendance, and decreased number of student withdrawals. Observations noted included friendlier class environment, increased student to student as well as student to professor interaction, and heightened awareness of other cultures. Interviews with team members echoed sentiments of increased self-confidence, lower levels of stress, and deeper understanding of learned material.