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Assessment of Communication and Teamwork Skills in Engineering Technology Programs

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session


Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.225.1 - 23.225.11



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Paper Authors


Daniel K. Jones P.E. SUNYIT

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Dr. Jones is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology and Chair of the Engineering Technology Department at SUNYIT in Utica, NY. He coordinates the ETAC/ABET accrediations processes. His technical interests include machine design, mechancial measurements, vibrations, instrumentation, and assistive technology for people with physical disabilities.

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Mohammed Abdallah SUNYIT

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Assessment of Communication and Teamwork Skills in Engineering Technology ProgramsRecently, institutions of higher education have acknowledged that an effective teaching/learningprocess must involve assessing and evaluating what and how much students are learning.Assessment and evaluation leads to improvements in the educational experiences.ETAC/ABET Criterion 3.B.e. and 3B.g. requires that graduates demonstrate effective skills inteamwork and communication. Therefore, the goal of this project was to develop consistent andefficient methods for assessment of students’ skills for different programs and instructors. Threeseparate rubrics have been developed to assess student outcomes in oral communication, writtencommunication, and teamwork. As an example, refer to the rubric for written communicationshown in Table 1 on the following page.When developing the rubrics, the goal was to limit each to one page with three to five conciseperformance indicators that captured the vital aspects of each student outcome. Eachperformance indicator was evaluated with performance levels on a scale of one to four. Eachperformance level contained a brief, thorough description of the expectations, clarifying thedifference between the performance levels.A pilot study was conducted during spring 2012 in upper-level courses computer, electrical, andmechanical engineering technology programs. Instructors provided scores in the three rubrics foreach student at the end of the semester in appropriate upper-level courses. For teamwork,students also evaluated their teammates confidentially using rubrics and written essays. Studentswere told in advance that their peer-assessment would remain confidential. They shared someperceptions of teamwork on paper that would otherwise not have been discussed in person withintheir groups. This helped to reveal the inner dynamics of the teams that may not have beenapparent from outside observations, providing more complete information for instructors toevaluate individual students.Results have been summarized and evaluated, and potential improvements have been identified.Pilot data and feedback from instructors indicate that the rubrics are very useful. Wheninstructors started using the rubrics, it took some initial time upfront to understand thedistinctions between the various performance levels. However, after some experience, the rubricsprovided a very rapid and efficient method of assessment. This investigation will continue duringthe 2012-13 academic year.Table 1. Rubric on Written CommunicationCourse: Date: Evaluator:Student Evaluated: Project Evaluated:Performance IndicatorStudentdemonstrated 1 – Not acceptable 2 - Below standards 3 - Meets standards 4 - Exemplary Scorethe ability to:a. Organize the Incomprehensible, Analysis is flawed or Clearly evaluates Documentation is content with extremely vague, inappropriate, findings, explains complete, clear, appropriate excludes data or unclear, vague, procedure, minor and appropriate, methodology presents findings does not question errors or omissions fully justifies without explanation findings findingsb. Identify and Little use of college- Lack of technical Use of skills from Advanced insight, explain the level skills, unclear content, proposed college courses, exceeds goals of topic with proposal, proposed goals are not fully proposed goals are project, focus on appropriate goals are not complete, focus on complete new technical addressed work of others understanding depthc. Write with Grammar errors, Misconstructions, Grammatically Excellent blend proper misspelling, unclear, difficult to correct, thorough of explanations language and misrepresents follow, some errors explanations, and illustrations, correct information, brief in formatting, straightforward full detail, no grammar punctuation, or grammar errors syntaxd. Provide Lack of adequate Limited use of Adequately shows Extensive use of graphical illustrations, illustrations, shows important concepts, a variety of illustrations irrelevant to topic, some of the most are labeled to illustrations from not labeled concepts, but not indicate relevance a range of all, incomplete sources, labels completely labelede. Utilize quality Does not collect Inadequate Identifies and Collects and quantity external background presents useful extensive of external information, research, limited sources, correctly relevant references irrelevant sources, use of external formatted and information from and resources plagiarism, sources, lacks referenced a wide range of dishonesty variety of sources, validates references

Jones, D. K., & Abdallah, M. (2013, June), Assessment of Communication and Teamwork Skills in Engineering Technology Programs Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19239

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