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Effective Teamwork Dynamics in a Unit Operations Laboratory Course

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

ChemE Curriculum: Junior, Senior, and Graduate

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30358

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

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Erick S. Vasquez University of Dayton

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Erick S. Vasquez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton. Dr. Vasquez earned his B.Sc. degree in chemical engineering at Universidad Centroamericana Jose Simeon Canas (UCA) in El Salvador. He received his M.Sc. degree in chemical engineering from Clemson University and his Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from Mississippi State University. His research focuses on the development and applications of nanomaterials in separation processes and the design of advanced composite materials. With regards to engineering educational research, Vasquez is working on the analysis of assessment methods to improve collaborative learning and on implementing computational tools to understand Transport Phenomena concepts. Vasquez has taught the Unit Operation Laboratories for three years.

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Zachary J. West University of Dayton

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Dr. Zachary West is a Senior Research Engineer in the Energy & Environmental Engineering Division at the University of Dayton Research Institute and a Graduate Faculty member at the University of Dayton. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Tri-State University, Angola, IN, a M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton. Zach’s primary area of research is aviation turbine fuel characterization and performance. He has instructed Unit Operations Laboratory for the past three years.

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Matthew DeWitt University of Dayton

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Matthew DeWitt is a Distinguished Research Engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University. His research interests are related to aviation fuel chemistry and engineering applications, including characterizing and understanding the performance of fuels at high and low temperatures, developing methods for quantifying particulate and gaseous emissions from combustion sources, and evaluating the potential use of Alternative Fuels and additives. He has been an instructor in the Unit Operations Laboratory at UD for seven years.

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Robert J. Wilkens University of Dayton

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Bob Wilkens is a Professor and Director of Chemical Engineering at the University of Dayton and serves as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation for the School of Engineering. He received his B.Ch.E. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Ohio University. Following a post-doc research engineering position at Shell Westhollow Technology Center, he returned to the University of Dayton to pursue an academic career. His research interests are in fluid flow and heat transfer.

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Michael J. Elsass University of Dayton

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Michael Elsass is the Director of the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Dayton. He received his B.Ch.E in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton and his M.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University. He then served two years as a post-doctoral researcher at both The Ohio State University and UCLA. His research interests are process systems engineering, process diagnosis, and simulation and modeling. He has instructed the Unit Operations Laboratory for four years.

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Abstract

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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