July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Educational Research and Methods
Team-based design projects are common in foundational engineering courses for many reasons. From a professional development perspective, team-based design projects offer students a mock apprenticeship with opportunities to engage in collaborative planning and work akin to that of the workforce. From a pedagogical perspective, they require students to think critically about a wide range of engineering concepts and to complete a variety of practical tasks related to learning objectives. Despite potential benefits, there are some formidable methodological challenges to understanding how team-based projects shape individuals’ ideas about themselves as engineers and the work engineering entails. The purpose of this study was to advance development of a tool for collecting data about how students spend time, select tasks, and envision their role within a team. The overarching goal of this research paper is to facilitate future research aimed at understanding how working in teams influences the emergence of professional identity and capability among undergraduate engineering students.
Our measurement tool, the Within-group Task Choice Survey, collects information about individuals’ experiences during a long-term team-based design project in an introductory engineering course. In contrast to a previous version, the current version employs a four-pronged approach designed to help students use multiple frameworks for describing their contribution to the team throughout the project design cycle. In the first part, students estimate their time investment in the context of the total manhours the team dedicated to the project. In the second part, students identify which action verbs from Bloom’s taxonomy best describe their engagement with each of the eight design elements required for the project. In the third part, students identify which occupational nouns best connote the degree and kind of leadership, fellowship, or followship they contributed to the team. Finally, students describe, in their own words, what influenced their participation choices and what actions/roles they took as a team member. Altogether, the survey solicits data about multiple dimensions of participation in teamwork: extent of time investment, nature of task contributions, and team membership identity.
Responses to the Within-group Task Choice Survey were analyzed using mixed methods. Quantitative data were analyzed using SAS to generate descriptive statistics and test group differences. Qualitative data were analyzed in Dedoose using a combination of a priori and emergent codes. Finally, joint displays were used to conduct a mixed methods analysis, incorporating both quantitative and qualitative data and findings. Results suggest the current version is an improvement over previous versions in terms of revealing the nature of students’ choices in the context of a team-based design project. The survey appears to mitigate social desirability bias in self-reported estimates of time investment. Importantly, survey responses provide insights into how students’ perceptions of learning and doing differs across eight design elements of the project. Finally, the survey generates descriptions of how students view themselves as novice engineers. The survey is not intended for use in grading but rather as a tool for researchers interested in investigating the kinds of within-group task choices associated with positive experiences and learning outcomes.
Headley, M. G., & Trauth, A., & Malladi, H., & Buckley, J. (2021, July), Examining the Me in Team-based Projects: Students’ Perceptions of Time and Tasks Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37122
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