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Achieving High Functioning Teams Using Team Based Learning in Flipped Classrooms

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Working in Teams: ERM Roundtable

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.143.1 - 26.143.12



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Paper Authors


Jennifer Mott California Polytechnic State University

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Jennifer Mott is a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Her research interests include using Team Based Learning in engineering courses and first year engineering programs.

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Steffen Peuker California Polytechnic State University

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Dr. Steffen Peuker holds the James L. Bartlett, Jr. Assistant Professor position in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the California State University in San Luis Obispo. He is teaching courses, including laboratories, in the HVAC concentration and mechanical engineering, including first-year courses. Dr. Peuker's educational research focuses on increasing student retention and success in engineering through implementation of a student success-focused approach in introduction to engineering courses. In addition, his work in engineering education focuses on collaborative learning, student-industry cooperation, and developing innovative ways of merging engineering fundamentals and engineering in practice and research.

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Achieving High Functioning Teams Using Team Based Learning in Flipped Classrooms From lab to design courses to group projects in general education or major courses,students are gaining experience working in teams. Unfortunately, teams may have one or morestudents doing all the work while another student does little to no work, yet reaps the benefits,i.e., grade, of the team. Active learning pedagogies using teams in the classroom, such ascollaborative learning, Problem Based Learning or Team Based Learning, need to incorporateclassroom and grading policies that diminish the effect of students who wish to “slide by” on theknowledge and work of hard working students. The purpose of this paper is to show that teamscan be high functioning and high performing, yet have minimal instructor guidance andintervention when Team Based Learning is used. Team Based Learning (TBL) is a specific pedagogical tool that emphasizes collaborativelearning and is distinct from other team or group activities because it follows a prescribedsequence of individual work and group work, and includes immediate feedback as well as peerevaluation. TBL is similar to a flipped classroom in the sense that students have a reading to dobefore class and prepare for in-class discussions and activities. The uniqueness of TBL is that in-class students work in large (5-7 students) permanent teams throughout the term, and in-classactivities are designed to maximize team cohesiveness and team interdependence. Team Based Learning has been implemented in four mechanical engineering courses inthe thermal sciences. The courses range from fundamental foundation courses to a senior leveltechnical elective. An eight question subset of the Team Based Learning Student AssessmentInstrument (TBL-SAI) was used to measure student accountability in TBL. In addition, data wascollected regarding team conflict, team satisfaction, team interdependence, and teamcohesiveness through required peer review administered twice each term using CATMESMARTER Teamwork.Over 150 students in 32 teams have participated in TBL taught courses. The results of the TBL-SAI showed that 93% of the students have felt accountable to not only themselves, but also totheir team to participate in the learning. The peer evaluation results asking about team conflict,satisfaction, and interdependence did not change from the first peer review to the final peerreview. The team exhibited rare to no team conflict (mean score 1.4/5 on peer evaluation).Students were very satisfied with their teams (mean score 4.5/5 on peer evaluation) and theteams had moderate team interdependence (mean score 3.6/5 on peer evaluation). At threeweeks into the term, the teams already exhibited cohesiveness (4/5 on peer evaluation), and theteam cohesiveness had significant (p=0.06, t=2.28) improvement at the end of the term (4.2/5 onpeer evaluation).The teams in TBL were high functioning. The team activities required the students to worktogether to be successful and the grading including peer review. Using the structure of TBL forthe team work, students are individually accountable and cannot be successful in the coursesimply by depending on the strongest or smarted students to do the work.

Mott, J., & Peuker, S. (2015, June), Achieving High Functioning Teams Using Team Based Learning in Flipped Classrooms Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23482

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