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Assessing Teamwork and Best Educational Practices in Diverse Multidisciplinary Programs

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Technical Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.241.1 - 22.241.9



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Paper Authors


Scott P. Schaffer Purdue University

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Scott P. Schaffer is an Associate Professor in the Learning Design and Technology program at Purdue University where he teaches courses related to design, assessment & evaluation, and learning theory. His research focuses on team learning and the design of informal learning spaces.

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Margaret Huyck Illinois Institute of Technology

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Professor Emeritus; Principle Investigator on NSF project involving four universities engaged in developing measures for teamwork and ethical awareness, and identifying best educational practices for developing those competencies among undergraduate students.

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William C. Oakes Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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William Oakes is the Director of the EPICS Program at Purdue University, one of the founding faculty members of the School of Engineering Education and a courtesy faculty member in Mechanical Engineering and Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. He is an fellow of the ASEE and NSPE. .He was the first engineer to win the Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was a co-recipient of the 2005 National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education for his work in EPICS.

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Daniel Gandara Illinois Institute of Technology

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Daniel Gandara holds a masters degree in personnel and human resource development and is currently working towards a Ph.D in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He currently does consulting work with programs in cross-disciplinary team-based education. His research interests are in the areas of team development, team training and learning, team assessment, counterproductive team behaviors, dysfunction in teams, and team-based performance and management.

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Assessing Teamwork and Best Educational Practices in Diverse Multi-disciplinary ProgramsAssessing how well undergraduate students recognize and think about teamwork issues that arisein their emerging professional practice has proven to be a significant challenge. The evidence isclear that many students will be working on multi-disciplinary/ cross-functional teams, withinand outside of engineering, as a professional. However, it is a challenge to prepare them for thiseventuality while developing their disciplinary identification and expertise. Many students arestill developing expertise within their own discipline or profession; thus, requiring them to workeffectively on an multi-disciplinary team creates special challenges. Assessment of teamlearning requires a measurement process to identify the practices most likely to result inenhanced awareness of professional teamwork issues, and team members’ ability to behave ineffective ways. Progress toward developing cross-disciplinary team assessment measuresappropriate for use in institutions that have a major focus on project-based and team-basedlearning experiences is reported in this study. Specific lessons learned from four programs atfour institutions that employ experiential learning with multidisciplinary teams will also beshared.An overarching goal of the current study was to develop assessment measures appropriate for usein a variety of contexts. In this presentation, four university contexts will be described withreference to the team assessment measures deemed appropriate within each context.Assessment measures developed to date include a cross-disciplinary team learning self-efficacyand team communication survey; a survey of teamwork functioning; and a survey of counter-productive team behaviors. Our goal for all measures is to demonstrate both reliability andvalidity by utilizing accepted psychometric strategies in developing and assessing the measures.Various strategies are being employed by the different programs to enhance cross-disciplinaryteamwork. Some of the programs have specific class or lecture modules. One of the programshas an experimental program involving ongoing teamwork exercises; their measures will becompared with those in the regular program that does not include such an emphasis. Someprograms have had students writing reflections that include questions about the teamwork issuesencountered by the team. These different strategies will provide the conditions under whichlearning outcomes were achieved and related to various cross-disciplinary team measuresdeveloped by the research group. The correlation research design paradigm affords opportunitiesto compare outcomes associated with varied instructional design strategies and elicits practices toenhance their effectiveness at the team and program levels.This research has been funded by NSF under a CCLI Phase 2 grant.

Schaffer, S. P., & Huyck, M., & Oakes, W. C., & Gandara, D. (2011, June), Assessing Teamwork and Best Educational Practices in Diverse Multidisciplinary Programs Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17522

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