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Demographic Effects on Student-Reported Satisfaction with Teams and Teammates in a First-Year, Team-Based, Problem-Based Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 5B: Work-In-Progress: 5 Minute Postcard Session II

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First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Robin Fowler University of Michigan

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Robin Fowler is a lecturer in the Program in Technical Communication at the University of Michigan.

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This proposal is for a work-in-progress—an investigation of numerical team reflections by team make-up, conducted in a first-year engineering course at a highly selective large public institution in the Midwest. The teams investigated were teams of four or five students working on open ended design-build-test-report projects in a first year engineering and communications course. Teams were formed by instructors, based on suggestions common in the literature when possible (avoid isolating females and under-represented minority students; distribute stronger students when student information is available; consider convenience factors such as student availability and dormitory location; see Oakley et al., 2004; Rosser, 1998). Importantly, because of the small size of the laboratory sections from which the teams are formed, sometimes students are isolated on teams even though this is not considered best practice.

Students completed team ratings via the Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness (Ohland et al., 2012) at the end of a seven- to ten-week project. They rated themselves as well as each teammate on five behaviorally-anchored items: contributing to the team’s work, interacting with teammates, keeping the team on track, expecting quality, and having related knowledge, skills, and abilities.

In the poster, I’ll report on results from the large data set assembled from my own sections of this course, ~1680 students over 14 semesters (2008 to 2015). Specifically, I will look at these research areas:

• Are there differences in self-ratings by gender? Is there evidence that men rate themselves higher, as seen in other studies of self-efficacy? Do women who are isolated on teams self-rate differently than women who are not isolated? Are women who are isolated on teams rated differently by their teammates than women who are not isolated? • Is there a difference in students’ ratings of in-group teammates (by gender, race, or native speaker status) compared to out-of- group teammates? • Are there patterns in overall satisfaction by team membership? Are diverse [by gender, by race, by native language] teams different from homogenous teams in terms of overall team satisfaction?

This project is proposed as a work-in-progress because the data set is currently being assembled. It is expected that this exploratory study of existing data might uncover interesting patterns in student reports that can be investigated further through an experimental design, and the author looks forward to talking with conference attendees and getting input before moving forward with such a study. I’m also eager to have conversations about what the findings might suggest for how teams are formed and, more importantly, how they are supported.

Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of Student Centered Learning, 2(1), 9-34.

Ohland, M. W., Loughry, M. L., Woehr, D. J., Finelli, C. J., Bullard, L. G., Felder, R. M., …Schmucker, D. G. (2012). The Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness: Development of a behaviorally anchored rating scale for self and peer evaluation. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11, 609-630.

Rosser, S. V. (1998). Group work in science, engineering, and mathematics: Consequences of ignoring gender and race. College Teaching, 46, 82-88.

Fowler, R. (2016, June), Demographic Effects on Student-Reported Satisfaction with Teams and Teammates in a First-Year, Team-Based, Problem-Based Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26649

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