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Chem Teams Prepare for Test

By Roopom Banjeree

Teamworks, which debuted as the new chemistry group program this year, has met with approval from both students and staff. While some students find working in small study groups helpful, the real indicator of the program's success will be the first quiz this week.

According to the Undergraduate Chemistry Office, about 76 percent of the 420 students registered for Introduction to General Chemistry (5.11) are in Teamworks. These students are divided into 75 groups, based on living group. Teams average four students per group.

Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (3.091) also has a similar program.

Professor Robert H. Fields, who teaches 5.11 this term, attributed the large number of students to the Teamworks grading policy. "The greatest incentive for joining Teamworks is due to its `no lose' grading policy," Fields said. "According to the contract that students signed to apply for Teamworks, the student's grade is determined by the higher of the individual and the team grade.

"I am excited about the possibility that [Teamworks] will have an effect. I am especially pleased that so many students have joined teams that seem to be functioning well," Fields continued.

"We have been trying for years to get study groups started, and I am hopeful of very positive results.," Fields said.

Student reaction to Teamworks has been somewhat mixed. The majority of students agree that Teamworks itself is very helpful and conducive to group learning. But students said that coordinating individual schedules to agree with the rest of the group is difficult.

Wilson W. Tai '97 said, "Teamworks is a good idea, although it is sometimes very difficult to set up a common meeting time where every member can attend."

"My group members and I are in different activities, so it is hard to come up with a time for all of us to meet," Sarah Kringer '97 said.

Not all students had trouble arranging meetings. Pooja B. Marria '97 said, "My team has not had much trouble setting up a time and place for us to meet. We have worked together on problems that we have had trouble with, we explain confusing things to each other, and try to learn from each other."

Students who had trouble arranging meetings agree with Marria that the group effort is worthwhile. "I think that it will work because people tend to work together on hard problems anyway. And Teamworks gives us an opportunity to meet and work with a diverse group of people in the same dorm, Kringer said"

Tai agreed. "My group has often been able to meet at the same time as other groups, and we work together as one large team, so that there is usually plenty of help around," Tai said.

Fields supports study groups such as Teamworks. "With something like Teamworks, everybody is winning. There is really no way anyone can lose by talking and learning from other people."