June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
This research study investigates how first year engineering design teams use Google Docs to manage their workflow process. Teams need to develop workflow practices that maximize each team members’ potential to collaborate effectively. Technologies can provide a means for supporting a team’s workflow with a high degree of productivity and collaboration. For example, online tools like Google docs provide multiple methods for team members to build knowledge together. Students entering today’s workforce need to experience online collaboration and work management to better prepare them for virtual engineering contexts that are becoming more prevalent in engineering professions. In this exploratory study, our guiding research questions are: (1) How do engineering student teams organize their workflow using technology, such as Google Docs and (2) What instructional support is needed to facilitate a more effective use of Google Docs? We used Google Docs because of its affordances to facilitate complex and interconnected core processes of collaborative work such as team awareness, knowledge building and knowledge management. Google Docs affordances can be used to support engineering team workflow management by providing opportunities for a higher level of interaction and interdependence among team members, by making workflow more transparent, by reflecting the rhythm of the work process and by helping teams not only manage their workflow but actually get into the flow of higher productivity and investment in the shared work. Our target audience are first year engineering students engaged in a semester long design project. The Design-Based Research (DBR) methodology was selected to address proposed research questions in a naturalistic setting. The rationale for using DBR was rooted in this method’s focus on helping “understand how, when, and why educational innovations work in practice” (Design-based Research Collective, 2003, p. 5). In this paper, we will focus on presenting results of a qualitative analysis of student responses to open-ended survey questions that were conducted during mid and end of the Spring 2016 semester at a large midwestern university. The results of this study will be used to inform engineering pedagogical practice that increase teams’ workflow processes. In addition, some results can contribute to the development of new workflow support technologies that will be focused on the needs of engineering students. This paper will be of interest to all instructors who have their students work collaboratively on projects that result in work products like a design notebook, or a final report.
Perova-Mello, N., & Brophy, S. P. (2017, June), First-Year Engineering Student Perspectives Of Google Docs For Online Collaboration Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28364
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