June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Biological & Agricultural
11.617.1 - 11.617.14
Experiences With Group Work at the University of Maryland or Managing Groups – In Noir
Group work is integrated throughout all levels of the Biological Resources Engineering program at the University of Maryland. The following is a description of some of the successful policies and procedures, inspired by the lawless gun-toting history of the Al Capone era.
Tiny (to audience): “Call me Tiny. I wuz woikin’ wid da mob over on 454 Street, as well as 455 and 484. Da mob, dey don’ woik so well as independent contractors, if you know what I mean, so dey wuz organized into gangs of tree, maybe four. Anymore dan dis, an’ dey don’ have enough t’do. An’ idle han’s ain’t good for morale. Anyway, I wuz talkin’ wid my associate in crime, Big . . . . ”
Group Work Advantages
Boeing (2004) lists “a profound understanding of the importance of team work” as a desired attribute of a successful engineer. Groups are formed in many of our Biological Resources Engineering courses, including Biological Process Engineering (ENBE 454), Basic Electronic Design (ENBE 455), Engineering in Biology (ENBE 484), Capstone Design (ENBE 485 & 486), Computer Use in Bioresources Engineering (ENBE 241), Biological Control Systems (ENBE 471), and most other courses in the program.
There are advantages to group work for both the student and instructor. For the student, working in groups encourages teamwork and social skills necessary to later career life. For the instructor, grouping students reduces the amounts of assignments to be graded. For both, groups promote cooperative learning and enhance speed and thoroughness of communications from the instructor to students. Changes in assignments or schedules are more confidently communicated as long as group members assist by telling other group members. Perhaps most importantly, the quality of prepared submissions is improved if group members represent a diverse range of skills and experiences from which to draw.
Chadha and Nicholls (2006) emphasize the need for teaching transferable skills to students. They highlight several definitions for “transferable skills” as follows: 1. “skills that are developed within one situation (education) and are useful when transferred into another (employment) – (Fallows and Steven, 2000) 2. skills that are needed in any job and which enable people to participate in a flexible and adaptable work force – (Bennett et al., 2000).”
Shirmohammadi, A., & Johnson, A. (2006, June), Experiences With Group Work At The University Of Maryland Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--949
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