Rethinking the course’s roles (update)

Those who have already been here, know that I usually carry out my teaching with a specific dynamic that has been changing over the years…  This year has seen the renewal of some of the roles that we manage (the last update is from 2020, and in it, there are many of the theoretical foundations that inspire this work, but the renewal was overdue), and I wanted to tell you about it to see what you think:

1.  Facilitator – Administrator:

This role is considered to make easier the group configuration and running. The person in charge of this role acts as the group leader and is responsible for task distribution, conflict mediation, checking the fulfilment of obligations, and motivating and encouraging his/her classmates. Her/his mission is the fulfilment of the task in the best way possible, and ALSO the group’s mental health conditions

Moreover, this role takes charge of updating the blog and all the online spaces of the group on the social web, apart from revising the format, spelling and grammar associated with the group assignments.


2.  Historian – Journalist:

The historian-reporter is in charge of writing a weekly article about what has happened in the group during the week and documenting everything that happens in the group, being free to carry out his/her task in the format he/she considers more appropriate. Students are encouraged to ‘tell their groups’ stories’ using the various formats provided by digital tools. That article is expected to serve, apart from the evaluation process by the teacher, as a field and register notebook by the group, allowing them to make decisions about maintaining or modifying their own internal work dynamics.

Besides, the historian role has the mission of exploring sites of interest which may be interesting either for the subject development or for the teaching training of the class members. Then the blogpost of the journalist must include, apart from the group’s history at least, one reference to a CLASS GROUP’s website and another to SOMEBODY OUTSIDE THE CLASS’s website, explaining the reasons of the choice and leaving a comment on the site that is available for review.

3.  Curator:

The curator will look for at least three online resources (news, tools, apps, webpages) that will help the group to complete in a better way their task. The list of these three –at least three, if more, more– resources, with a phrase about how to use it, the link to connect with this, and a phrase about how this resource helps you to improve the task, must be included in the blog.

Moreover, the curator is responsible for compiling and organising in a schematic way, all the information sources that the group has used to develop the activity. It means, creating an online mindmap (using the tool you prefer) and embedding the result in the specific curator post of your blog. Moreover, he/she must be in charge of sequencing the documents specifying the process carried out and linking and indexing (according to APA style) the aforementioned documents in the mentioned visual diagram, which will grow every week when the new curator upgrades the map.

4.  Translator

Inspirado en roles como el theoritician de otras propuestas como la de De Wever et al. (2010), este rol puede clasificarse por su función, entre los que ayudan a los alumnos a formular lo que saben los estudiantes y a integrarlo, así como a los que pretenden incentivar el pensamiento de los alumnos y mejorar su razonamiento (Johnson et al., 1999).

The translator must define –in their own words– the six core terms related to the subject every week, which have been worked on in the activity (at least one related to the geek component, (I must do another blogpost explaining “the geek component” hehe) at least one regarding the methodological –pedagogical– component of the task, and at least three related to the theoretical part of the task).

Each term must be defined in a minimum of 50 words and a maximum of 150; the answers must be original or –if you use other resources to create the answers–, you are forced to include your sources adequately and justify your choices.

5.  Analyst:

The analyst is responsible for conducting the assignment’s final reflection and the weekly evaluation of the group members’ performance.

The members’ performance evaluation is carried out following some general rules enabling analysts to value each group member’s contribution:

  • The mark will be from 1 to 5 and only whole numbers.
  • Mark 3 (out of 5) means: The person has completed his/her function and task part correctly, on time and without big mistakes.
  • If the mark of all the group members is the same, the mark will be ignored by the teacher, and the analyst will be penalised.
  • Every mark must be qualitatively justified.

At the end of each week, each analyst must include that assessment (numerical and qualitative) in an online ad-hoc questionnaire (the questionnaire URL will be available in the LMS).

Apart from this assessment, the analyst is in charge of conducting the team’s final reflection, where he/she must comment on what they have learnt, not only about the subject contents but also about the teamwork and the fact of being a teacher in general. To help you to start thinking, these questions could help you:

  1. What was the best part of the activity?
  2. What was the worse?
  3. What was the best moment of the week (in the work of the group)?
  4. What was the worse?
  5. What have you learnt?
  6. What do you need to conserve -as a group- for the next weeks?
  7. What do you need to improve –as a group- for the next weeks?
  8. How is THIS content related to other course content and your degree?
  9. How would the geek thing we included in the task change the teachers’ profession?
  10. Is there any evident social connection to this content (news, politics, etc.)?

It is probably one of the most important roles of the assignment since the analyst is in charge of conducting the assignment reflection, paying special attention to the other roles’ contributions, analysing what aspects have been tackled, thinking about how they have worked and agreed with his/her classmates a reflection about what they have learned. To sum up, the analyst specifies and agrees with the team’s reflection and metacognition process.

6.  Star:

The star is in charge of presenting the final product of the weekly tasks to all the class members, paying attention to the specified requirements in each task.

The star blog post MUST include the feedback received during the presentation and the star’s impressions about the performance.

It must be emphasised that, despite the fact that all the team members should be involved in the achievement of the task, the star has shown a greater interest each week. During the subject development, it has been observed that the star role is the one which requires more information search for the final task.


If you want a summary of the class dynamics in English, you have one at:

Castañeda, Linda & Marín Victoria (2022). Improving Pedagogical Design in Higher Education: Untangling the Learning Activity Complexity through Students’ Declared Performance. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning RPTEL 18, 1. 

Although there are many of my publications refer to my teaching.

BTW, all the pictures have been created with DALL-E 2 by Myself, L. Castañeda

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