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Assessing Factors Contributing To Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Project Team Effectiveness

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Student Teams and Project-Based Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.266.1 - 12.266.19



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Paper Authors

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Margaret Huyck Illinois Institute of Technology

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Daniel Ferguson Illinois Institute of Technology

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Rachel Wasserman Illinois Institute of Technology IPRO Program

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




The Interprofessional Projects Program at Illinois Institute of Technology is a project-based learning experience with the learning objectives of strengthening multidisciplinary teamwork skills, improving communication and project management skills, and practicing ethical behavior. All undergraduate students must participate in at least two semester-long three credit hour projects. Projects vary widely in focus, including Service Learning, Entrepreneurial, Product Development and others; some projects have participating external sponsors. We are collecting data on ca. 36 - 40 teams each semester, enrolling approximately 400 students.

We have developed several strategies for assessing teamwork effectiveness: (1) a self-assessment of the extent to which each student feels that they have developed teamwork competencies, (2) a Knowledge Test of teamwork concepts drawn from the vast literature on teamwork, (3) a Team Excellence and Trust Survey, assessing perceptions of the team’s functioning in terms of factors identified with high-functioning teams, and (4) judge’s scores of teamwork functioning as assessed during end-of-semester presentations at which both formal presentations and exhibits are evaluated by a panel of 5-7 persons not associated with the teams.

During the past three years we have introduced various interventions to enhance teamwork functioning. Our first intervention included administering the Team Excellence Survey and providing a feedback/ action session with a subset of teams during weeks 5-8 of the semester. Over a three-semester evaluation period, team functioning overall was not significantly different between teams that received this intervention and those that did not.

We are currently evaluating the impact of an intervention designed to speed up the process of team formation by offering a half-day of team games and other activities specifically designed to focus on awareness of teamwork. We are comparing the performance of individuals and teams that participated in this experience with those who did not. In addition, recognizing the complexity of variables that affect team functioning, we will assess the impact of student background on performance in this area; namely, year in school, academic major, GPA, gender, country of citizenship, prior experience with a project team, prior formal instruction in teamwork, prior experiences in leadership positions, and expectations about the experience.

Results from the first trial semester (Fall 2006) indicate that students who attended and did not attend the games were similar on most demographic and experience variables. However, students who attended the games had higher average GPA, and felt more positive about the IPRO they were joining; they were also more likely to feel positive about their team functioning at week 5. However, participation in the games was not associated with any difference in mastering the knowledge base in teamwork, or in their self-assessed competence in teamwork at the end of the semester. At the team level, teams where at least one member attended the games were somewhat more likely to submit good initial project plans, and significantly more likely to submit a good Midterm Report dealing with modifications to the initial plans. Results from the second trial semester (Spring 2007) will provide further insights into this intervention.

Huyck, M., & Ferguson, D., & Wasserman, R. (2007, June), Assessing Factors Contributing To Undergraduate Multidisciplinary Project Team Effectiveness Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3016

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