Asee peer logo

An Analysis of Freshman Teamwork Experiences in Required Design and Entrepreneurial Thinking Project-Based Learning Courses

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Sandra Furnbach Clavijo P.E. Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

visit author page

Sandra Clavijo is the Director of E-Core Education for the School of Engineering & Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology. She coordinates the instructional delivery, student registration and scheduling logistics and collection of assessment data for all core courses in the undergraduate engineering and science programs. Sandra also teaches Senior Innovation and Introduction to Entrepreneurship Thinking. Sandra previously worked in the Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship and managed programs encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship around Stevens Campus. Before coming to Stevens, Sandra worked as a consulting engineer with Stantec and T&M Associates specializing in Urban Land Redevelopment and Municipal Engineering. Sandra holds a B.S. Degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering, an A. B. degree in Art History, and a Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Management from Stevens Institute of Technology. She also holds a Professional Engineering license in NJ.

visit author page


Kishore V. Pochiraju Stevens Institute of Technology (School of Engineering and Science)

visit author page

Kishore Pochiraju is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Stevens Institute of Technology. He recently served as the Founding Director of the Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Program at Stevens ( IDEaS) and prior to that, as the Director of the Design and Manufacturing Institute, a research center at Stevens. Prof. Pochiraju received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Drexel University and joined Stevens after working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware. His expertise spans product design, advanced manufacturing, materials insertion, and knowledge-based systems integration. His current externally-funded research is on the design of real-time lightweight robotic systems, high-temperature materials, and micro-/nano-scale devices. He is a member of ASME, ASEE and the American Society for Composites (ASC).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Project-based learning in a team setting can be a significant platform in engineering curricula for collaborative learning, engagement and student retention of learned material. While several practices for team formation are evident in literature, a limited number focus on maximizing student satisfaction while working in teams. This is critical for first-year students who just entered college through a competitive admissions process and often require some learning to understand collaboration in a team setting. At our university, we have analyzed the freshman team experiences in three major core engineering courses, and this paper presents example practices that have promoted positive teamwork experiences, as well as quality project outcomes. In this study, we used team assessment data from three courses from the same cohort of students (214) across multiple sections in the 2017-2018 academic year: first-semester design course on basic electromechanical systems and robotics in the fall semester, second-semester design course on fielded systems, and the introductory course on entrepreneurial thinking. All courses used project-based learning with teams of three or four students. A software tool and its built-in methodologies, Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (CATME), was used to assess overall satisfaction with their teammates, which we adopted as a measure of student satisfaction from their team experience. Major differential factors in our study included whether the students were given a project by the instructor or allowed to define their own project, and if they had any choice in selecting their teammates.

In the first-semester design course, students were sorted in teams using a hierarchical set of policies defined in CATME’s Team-Maker and were assigned a project for the semester; all students in the course worked on the same project. In the second-semester design course, students were able to pick their teammates with a few restrictions, but a project was assigned to them. The students in the entrepreneurial thinking course selected their teammates and their project with the constraint that it must follow a theme of social innovation. While traditionally it is challenging to maintain quality when students define their own project, instructors reviewed the student project proposals and established a level of quality and scope for the projects. Small class sizes (fewer than 28 students), flexible teaching methods, standardized evaluation rubrics, and flipped classroom methods are all used to ensure the learning objectives for these courses are consistently met across the sections. Overall group satisfaction was 5 percent higher in the entrepreneurial thinking course than in the second-semester design course and 8 percent higher than that of the first-semester design course. We found that prior experience working in teams enhances the satisfaction score, as evident from the increased ratings from first-semester to second-semester courses. Additionally, when looking at the engineering design courses that had the same subset of instructors, 83 percent had improved team satisfaction, with a 7 percent average increase in the second course, when compared to the first.

Clavijo, S. F., & Pochiraju, K. V. (2019, June), An Analysis of Freshman Teamwork Experiences in Required Design and Entrepreneurial Thinking Project-Based Learning Courses Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32056

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015