Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Design in Engineering Education
One of the challenges for capstone design instructors is forming equitable, balanced, and appropriately-skilled student teams to work on projects for the year. For most capstone programs, there are three main parts of this process: identification of projects, presentation of projects to students, and selection of student teams. This paper will focus on the third step, with some discussion of techniques for the first and second. While there is significant useful research about the best ways to form student teams, capstone design team formation has unique aspects that are not directly addressed by prior work. In particular, what is the best approach for team-forming when the participants have similar skills but are deployed to work on very different design challenges?
In our capstone course, we recently compared two approaches to team formation: Student-formed and Faculty-formed teams. The results of this comparison are reported in a separate paper. This year, informed by these results, we implemented a new hybrid team-forming process designed to retain the student agency resulting from Student-formed teams while including some of the known benefits of Faculty-formed teams. In this hybrid process, students placed labeled sticky notes on posters to indicate their project interests (first, second, third choice). Projects requiring special skills (e.g., FEA, mechatronics) had spaces for students to self-identify these skills. After an initial round, instructors pointed out high-interest projects and encouraged students to consider moving their sticky notes. Following a second round, faculty took the posters and used them to form teams.
This paper summarizes relevant team-forming research and results from our comparison between Student-formed and Faculty-formed teams. Then we describe the hybrid approach implemented this year and analyze the preliminary results obtained after one quarter of student teamwork (including student surveys, team peer evaluations, and faculty interviews).
Schuster, P., & Self, B. P., & Elghandour, E., & Cooper, L. A. (2020, June), A Hybrid Approach to Team-forming for Capstone Design Projects Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34008
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