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Examining the Me in Team-based Projects: Students’ Perceptions of Time and Tasks

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Studies of Student Teams and Student Interactions

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37122

Download Count

40

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Paper Authors

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Marcia Gail Headley University of Delaware Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3017-2834

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Dr. Headley is a Research Associate III at the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy (CRESP) at the University of Delaware. She specializes in the development of mixed methods research designs and strategies for integrating quantitative and qualitative research approaches. She is the recipient of the 2017 American Education Research Association (AERA) Mixed Methods SIG Outstanding Dissertation Award. Her methodological work has been published in the prestigious Journal of Mixed Method Research. Dr. Headley is devoted to designing effective research studies with the potential to generate well-justified answers to complex questions about how students learn given variations in their health, homes, classrooms, and schools.

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Amy Trauth University of Delaware Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5146-592X

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Amy Trauth, Ph.D., is Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware and Science Instructional Specialist at New Castle County Vo-Tech School District in Wilmington, DE. In her role, Amy works collaboratively with high school science teachers to develop and implement standards-based curricula and assessments. She also provides mentoring, coaching and co-teaching support to secondary science teachers across the entire trajectory of the profession. Her research focuses on teacher education, classroom assessment, and P-16 environmental and engineering education.

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Haritha Malladi University of Delaware

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Haritha Malladi is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of First-Year Engineering at University of Delaware, Newark, DE. She is passionate about undergraduate education and teaches the first-year experience course incoming class students in the College of Engineering at UD. She obtained her Bachelor of Technology degree in Civil Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Warangal, India. She earned her Master of Science and doctoral degrees in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University in the USA. Her disciplinary research interests lie in the area of sustainability in asphalt pavements using material considerations, green technologies, and efficient pavement preservation techniques. Her doctoral work focused on improving the performance of recycled asphalt pavements using warm mix asphalt additives. As a postdoctoral scholar at North Carolina State University, she worked on several NCDOT sponsored research projects including developing specifications for crack sealant application and performing field measurements of asphalt emulsion application in tack coats and chip seals. Her undergraduate teaching experience includes foundational engineering mechanics courses like statics and strength of materials as well as courses related to sustainability and infrastructure. Alongside teaching, she is passionate about science communication and public involvement in science. She has been invited to conduct several workshops on communicating technical concepts to different target audiences. She is interested in incorporating data-driven research, citizen science, and experiential learning into teaching and outreach.

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Jenni Buckley University of Delaware

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Dr. Buckley is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Delaware. She received her Bachelor’s of Engineering (2001) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware, and her MS (2004) and PhD (2006) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she worked on computational and experimental methods in spinal biomechanics. Since 2006, her research efforts have focused on the development and mechanical evaluation of medical and rehabilitation devices, particularly orthopaedic, neurosurgical, and pediatric devices. She teaches courses in design, biomechanics, and mechanics at University of Delaware and is heavily involved in K12 engineering education efforts at the local, state, and national levels.

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Abstract

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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