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Design Team Skills Curriculum For Intermediate Level Project Class

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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

Capstone Design I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.465.1 - 12.465.13



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Paper Authors


Steven Zemke Gonzaga University

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Steven Zemke is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Gonzaga University. He teaches design classes at the sophomore, junior, and capstone level. His research pursuits are in the pedagogy of design. Steven received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a dissertation on pedagogy from the University of Idaho in 2005. Prior to teaching, Steven was a design engineer and engineering manager for 25 years.

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Diane Zemke Gonzaga University

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Diane Zemke is a Doctoral Student in the Leadership Studies Program at Gonzaga University. Her interests include pedagogy, paradigms of leadership, and Western spirituality. Diane holds a Masters degree in Religious Studies from Gonzaga University.

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

Design Team Skills Curriculum For Intermediate Level Project Class


Many engineering programs include a pre-capstone design class to prepare students for their senior design project. These classes typically teach the design process and teamwork skills in the context of shorter projects. To learn this type of engineering collaboration students need team practice time of discrete skills in a semi-controlled environment. Further, faculty monitoring and well-planned intervention into teams as they practice can greatly increase learning. However, scheduling team practice time into the regular class period seriously reduces the time to introduce the content and method of these skills. Instructors are often torn between providing adequate instruction and adequate practice time. As a result, successful learning of these skills is hampered. This paper describes an assessment-driven curricular development at Gonzaga University to teach collaborative engineering skills. The modular curriculum consists of three components:

1. An intelligent tutoring system prepares students with content knowledge before class practice. Formative and summative assessments are part of this system.

2. Structured team practice sessions centered on challenging case studies. Recorded and transcribed team interactions will be used to improve and verify that the case studies initiate higher-level group application of the skills.

3. A “coaching tool kit” equips the instructor with topic-specific intervention strategies to help teams master the skills. Recorded and transcribed student interactions before, during, and after interventions will be used to improve and validate the intervention strategies.

This project is in the early stage of a multi-year endeavor that is soliciting collaborators. Collaborators can join the project by using and assessing modules, creating new modules, or both. Our ultimate goal is to create an open community of practice that creates, improves, and uses this curriculum. Once mature, the curriculum will include a full array of modules that teach the skills that support engineering collaboration.

1. Background

The primary goal of engineering is to create new designs and improve existing ones.1 Creating designs is typically done in a team environment. Engineers employ three broad categories of skills to execute this team-based work. These skills include open-ended problem solving applied to a variety of hurdles, project management to plan and manage workflow, and teamwork skills to optimize collaboration. These three broad areas of skills, labeled design team skills, regulate the more individual activities such as sketching, mathematical analyses, or CAD design.

Zemke, S., & Zemke, D. (2007, June), Design Team Skills Curriculum For Intermediate Level Project Class Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1898

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