Asee peer logo

Differentiated Team Training In A Multidisciplinary Engineering Projects Course

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.461.1 - 9.461.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Vijay Rajappa

author page

Steve Watkins

author page

Ray Luechtefeld

Download Paper |

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

Session number 2004-1340

Differentiated Team Training in a Multidisciplinary Engineering Projects Course

Dr. Ray Luechtefeld, Dr. Steve E. Watkins, Vijay Rajappa University of Missouri-Rolla


The ability to function effectively in teams is an important contributor to career success in engineering. Unfortunately, specific training designed to improve team effectiveness is not often incorporated into engineering education. Even when such training is provided, the absence of clear comparisons makes it difficult to evaluate effectiveness. Providing two kinds of team training to two groups of students in an engineering projects course allows comparisons between different methods.

Utilizing this approach, two types of team training were offered to senior-level and graduate engineering students in an elective projects course at the University of Missouri – Rolla. The effects of conventional training in handling communication and team dynamics were compared with the effects of Action Science-based training in voicing inquiries and perspectives. Both quantitative and qualitative data were used to evaluate the two approaches to training.


The ability to successfully work in teams is a crucial ingredient for success in the workplace 1. Unfortunately it is often a neglected part of an engineer’s education. The ability to function effectively in a team is even a requirement for accreditation, as stated in ABET’s 2003-2004 General Criteria: Engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have…an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams (I.3.d). However, while engineering students are generally given a great deal of direction and instruction in the technical aspects of their work, they are often thrown into teams without ample guidance to lead them through the complexities of team dynamics. These experiences often do not prepare students for the obstacles that multidisciplinary teams meet in industry, research and academia. Good team skills are not learned merely by placing students in teams 2. The technical problems faced by engineering graduates are complex and often require collaborative effort. Engineers interact in the workplace with technical peers in other disciplines at all stages of design, development, and application. Hence, engineering work is increasingly oriented toward boundary-crossing, multi-disciplinary team activity. The potential and need to improve engineering training and education regarding team soft skills such as team dynamics

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Rajappa, V., & Watkins, S., & Luechtefeld, R. (2004, June), Differentiated Team Training In A Multidisciplinary Engineering Projects Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12929

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015