Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
At The University of Dayton, the Chemical Engineering Unit Operations Laboratory is taught at the senior level, and a large percentage of the grade relies on teamwork. During a typical semester, students perform experiments in three core unit operations areas: fluid flow, heat transfer, and separation processes. In addition, the students complete an operability study, which involves other unit operations (e.g., vacuum drying, spray drying, etc.), a calibration study, and a final project. Students are required to work in groups of three or four, based on class enrollment, during the entire semester with a report submission for each core experiment and the final project, which has led to many team conflicts and struggles over the years. This study seeks to obtain an understanding of group dynamics to better manage disagreements encountered by teams by using a series of assessment tools and constructive feedback. The main goal of this work is to assess individual contributions and the performance of the group members by using open and confidential surveys. For each laboratory experiment on the core unit operations, a team leader is chosen by each group. The leader is responsible for assigning work to the other students and coordinate the work performed during each experiment. After submitting a report, each team leader provides a one-on-one presentation with the instructor, which results in an individual assessment during the semester. The team lead grades are assigned based on a rubric that identifies the organization, technical content, presentation style, and team leadership skills. Assessment of individual work is also provided by the students using an open group assessment form, which is attached at the end of each report. This document provides an opportunity to self-assess the internal communication, division of labor, and roles in the group. Each student signs it, and the team leader revises it before submitting the report to the instructor. To capture any other disagreements within a group, a second anonymous questionnaire is provided to the students based on the teamwork value rubric from the Association of American Colleges and Universities. This data was collected and analyzed using google forms. Overall, students showed positive feedback with both assessment techniques. When differences exist, these are addressed first at an individual level and, if needed, a group discussion follows. The use of these assessment tools was implemented on a semester in which the students selected their teams, and a comparison is made when the instructor assigned the teams. This work demonstrates that the use of individual assessment and open group evaluations can motivate students to perform better and provide for an increased level of accountability when working in groups.
Vasquez, E. S., & West, Z. J., & DeWitt, M., & Wilkens, R. J., & Elsass, M. J. (2018, June), Effective Teamwork Dynamics in a Unit Operations Laboratory Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30358
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