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An Integrated Plan For Improving Team Functioning

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Conference

2004 Annual Conference

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count

10

Page Numbers

9.189.1 - 9.189.10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/13712

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

author page

Andrea Welker

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session number 1793

An Integrated Plan for Improving Team Functioning

Andrea L. Welker and Walter G. Tymon, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering/Department of Management, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085

Abstract: The importance of effective team functioning is recognized by students, faculty, employers, and our accreditation board. Teams are often used to obtain all of the educational outcomes described by ABET, however, the explicit statement that students must learn how to work in teams highlights the increasing importance of this skill. Several teaching methods to help students learn to work effectively in teams have been discussed in the literature. These include having students work in teams on various projects; providing training in effective team functioning; and providing learning objectives that cover elements of effective multidisciplinary team functioning. Upon examination of our curriculum in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Villanova University, we discovered that our students are often required to work in groups, but that we did not provide training nor did we routinely provide learning objectives relating to teams. Modules on team functioning have been developed and are currently being implemented in sophomore, junior, and senior level classes. These modules include in-class activities and homework. The students are also provided with reference materials on running effective meetings and assessing how their teams are functioning. Preliminary feedback from the students is very positive. Students appeared to most appreciate being provided with tools to improve team functioning. We believe this type of training in team functioning reinforced throughout the curriculum will lead to less interpersonal problems, improved participation by all group members, improved leadership capabilities, more effective learning, and higher quality reports. The effectiveness of the program will be evaluated by surveying the students to collect attitudinal data, analyzing the results of senior surveys, and by applying a rubric to student work.

Introduction The ABET accreditation criteria adopted in the mid 1990s are a blend of outcomes-based education and continuous-quality improvement. Eleven skills are described, one of which (3d) is “an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams” (ABET 2003). Teams are often used to obtain all of the educational outcomes described by ABET, however, the explicit statement that students must learn how to work in teams highlights the increasing importance of this skill. Lovgren and Racer (2000) and Felder and Brent (2003) recommend several teaching methods to help students learn to work effectively in teams, such as having students work in teams on various projects; providing training in effective team functioning; and providing learning objectives that cover elements of effective multidisciplinary team functioning. Although we often require students to

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Welker, A. (2004, June), An Integrated Plan For Improving Team Functioning Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/13712

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