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Evaluating Multidisciplinary Design Teams

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Teaching Teaming Skills Through Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.540.1 - 8.540.18



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Paper Authors

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Leah Jamieson

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Lynne Slivovsky

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

Session 2525

Evaluating Multidisciplinary Design Teams

Lynne Slivovsky, William Oakes, Leah Jamieson Purdue University

Abstract Many program look for ways to simulate “real” design experiences. At Purdue University, the EPICS - Engineering Projects in Community Service – program does this through long-term team projects that solve technology-based problems for local community service organizations. The program currently has 24 project teams with approximately 450 students participating during the 2002 academic year. Each EPICS project team consists of ten to 20 students, a local community service organization that functions as its customer and a faculty and/or industrial adviser. The teams are multidisciplinary; they are composed of students from 20 majors across engineering and the university. The teams are vertically-integrated; each is a mix of freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

A key concern with any real design experience, where the purpose is to expose students to open ended problems and multiple solution paths and to encourage creativity, is the evaluation of student performance. This is especially difficult with multidisciplinary and vertically integrated experiences. This process can be further confounded when the projects are driven by an external customer, making it difficult to predetermine the expected outcomes.

The EPICS program has developed a series of methods to help assess student achievement and assign grades in an equitable manner. They cover a variety of attributes that each student brings to the team based on his or her discipline and academic year. These methods include automated weekly report and peer evaluation systems, design notebooks, self assessments, and an evaluation matrix. They are used in a dry run grading period near the middle of the semester to help calibrate students in their performance. This paper will provide an overview of these methods and how they have been applied in the context of the EPICS program.

Introduction The importance of significant design experiences to prepare undergraduate engineering students for engineering careers has been well-documented1,2. These experiences should emphasize the application of the technical skills in the classroom as well as the "softer" skills such as communication, working as a team and customer interaction3-5. The need for such experiences has spawned many innovative approaches to senior capstone design courses6,7 as well as design courses for underclassmen8-11. The most common model for these courses has been a one semester experience intended to give the students an intense exposure to the design process.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Jamieson, L., & Slivovsky, L., & Oakes, W. (2003, June), Evaluating Multidisciplinary Design Teams Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11942

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