June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
This research paper examines how four first-year engineering students interact with one another in teams to answer two research questions: 1) How do students experience working in diverse teams? and 2) Do their perceptions of diversity, affect, and engineering practice change as a result of working in diverse teams? Despite engineering's emphasis on developing students’ teaming skills, little research has been conducted on how students develop sensitivity to students from different cultures and backgrounds within diverse teams. We interviewed four students in a first-semester, first-year engineering team twice for a total of eight interviews to understand their experiences working in diverse teams. Each interview was analyzed using a modified form of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to understand the lived experience of each participant. In this paper, we present the results from the qualitative analysis of one team’s complete interviews as a first step in the larger research project.
Results from this first-year engineering team show that in spite of explicit instruction and discussions about the importance of diversity, these students did not wholeheartedly value diversity in teaming activities. This team renegotiated and compromised their operationalization of what diversity meant in their engineering team. While based on individual values, this compromised understanding of diversity in engineering-teaming tasks led to inequitable experiences and lack of growth across the team. It limited the roles students took on during teaming activities, helped establish boundaries around communication in the team, and influenced the type of work teammates were trusted to take on and complete. Despite being from diverse parts of the world, having different experiences with and perceptions of diversity, this student team felt they were more homogeneous than different. Our work highlights the need for a deeper examination of the intricate complexity of teaming experiences during inquiry and design activities.
Rodriguez-Simmonds, H. E., & Pearson, N. S., & Rohde, J. A., & Vealey, K. P., & Kirn, A., & Godwin, A. (2017, June), Forget Diversity, Our Project is Due Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28378
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