Diversity of Knowledge, Experiences, and Strengths

45 min



Competencies: Communication, Operations & Collaboration, Self-reflection, Workload Division

Learning Objectives

  1. Leverage knowledge, skills, strengths, and diversity to develop innovative and inclusive approaches to design/project challenges. 
  2. Devise a plan that manages team dynamics toward completing project goals. 
  3. Organize a team using a leadership model appropriate to the team composition and goals. 
  4. Deploy effective communication strategies to manage collaboration and conflict within the team. 
  5. Observe and assess behaviors that contribute to team challenges, successes, and failures.

Instructor Preparation

  1. Assign students to teams.
  2. Review instructions and activity guide for The Inventure Prize – Valuing Diverse Perspectives.
  3. If choosing the in-class option, review the timing for the class session.
  4. Distribute the instructions (either as an in-class announcement or via Canvas) and set up an appropriate submission area on Canvas for the required deliverables.

Notes for Instructor

  • This unit was designed to fit into a junior-level course and is part of the larger ETD curriculum. For more information about the overall ETD curricular structure or partnering with us, please contact us or fill out the Request to Partner form.
  • Rubrics (in-class rubric, homework rubric) are included to help you evaluate the work that the students submit.

Outline & Timing

Option 1 (In Class)

1. Introduce the purpose of the day’s activity. (1 min)

Points to make:

  • Briefly (re)introduce the concept of ETD. You might ask for a show of hands of how many students have completed one of these activities in a previous class. Ask students to reflect what they have learned thus far about the value of effective teamwork.
  • Focus the students on the purpose of this lesson which is to determine what each team member brings in terms of knowledge, skills, and experience.

2. Ask each student to read the  “Diversity, Self-Awareness, and Teamwork” section of the activity guide individually. (5 min)

3. Begin steps of the activity guide.

Step 1: Brainstorm knowledge and skill ideas. (5 min)

  • Ask students to differentiate between knowledge and skills – consider writing examples of each on the board.
  • Ask each student to spend two to three minutes individually brainstorming a list of knowledge and skills that they bring to the team assignment.

Step 2: Discuss findings. (5 min)

  • Each team member should share their findings with one another. One team member should serve as a notetaker, writing down the list of knowledge and skill examples their teammates brainstormed.

Step 3: Identify common knowledge and map their skills. (5 min)

  • Each team should then identify where the team has overlapping areas of knowledge and skills, as well as areas of knowledge and skills that the team will need to acquire in order to complete the assigned project.
  • Optional: Ask students to create a visual map of their skills and knowledge, using pen and paper, or whiteboard/chalkboard in the classroom.

Step 4: Create a strengths-based task list. (5 min)

  • Students should revisit their CliftonStrengths results individually for a few minutes. Based on their individual strengths, what are some of the ways they can help their team gain knowledge or lacking skills?

Step 5: Design a team plan. (5 min)

  • The team should come back together to discuss each group member’s findings. The team should decide as a group which tasks each team member should pursue in order to best help the team.

Step 6: Create or modify your team contract. (5 min)

  • If the team does not already have a team contract, this is an excellent place to start building one. Team members can turn the concrete task list into a set of early responsibilities. If the team has already started a team contract, they can update the contract to reflect these new tasks/responsibilities.

4. Conclude class. (5 min)

Option 2 (Homework)

1. Ask students to read the “Diversity, Self-Awareness, and Teamwork” section of the activity guide and type up responses to the three following questions prompts. Complete this work individually but tell students to be prepared to share with their team.

Question 1: Read over the assignment sheet for the team project again. Based on what you know about the project, write a list of all the knowledge (things you know without doing any research) and skills (things you can do without any additional lessons or research) that will be useful to this project.

Question 2: Looking at your CliftonStrengths, think about the ways in which you best acquire new knowledge or skills. Write down a list of concrete tasks (i.e. I can research workshops, so we can all learn Photoshop.) or methods (i.e. I learn best by watching instructional videos.) that best help you to explore new knowledge or acquire new skills.

Example: Methods – I learn new software skills best in a hands-on environment. 

Example: Tasks – I could research if there are any workshops on Photoshop in the next month.

Question 3: Based on your CliftonStrengths and previous experience, write down a list of concrete steps you are willing and able to take to help the team gain new skills and knowledge.

Example: I could take the library workshop on March 3 on Photoshop, then show the other team members what I learned.

2. Ask students to meet as a team to share their results. They should complete the following together:

  • Share existing knowledge and skills, each team member taking a turn.
  • Create a visual map of the knowledge and skills the team has, noting points of overlap.
  • Identify areas of knowledge or skills that the team does not already have that are necessary to complete the project.
  • Build a concrete list of tasks that need to be completed in order to acquire the missing knowledge or skills, then decide which team member will be responsible for each, keeping in mind the strengths of each team member.
  • Consider adding this information to the existing team contract.

3. Turn in via Canvas:

  • Individual answers (.doc or .docx)
  • Visual map and concrete list of tasks (.doc or .docx)
  • A rubric is included to help you evaluate the work that the students submit.

Activity Appearance

  • This is not part of a defined ETD curriculum set and is intended to be part of fourth-year level classes or classes that have semester-long (or multi-semester) projects.