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Forming Student Project Teams Based On Hermann Brain Dominance (Hbdi) Results

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.219.1 - 1.219.7



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Paper Authors

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Silvia G. Middleton

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Monika Lumsdaine

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Kimberly A. Buch

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J. William Shelnutt

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Session 0630 Forming Student Project Teams Based on Hermann Brain Dominance (HBDI) Results

J. William Shelnutt, Silvia G. Middleton, Kimberly A. Buch; Monika Lumsdaine UNC Charlotte/ Michigan Technological University

Abstract The thinking preferences of 487 students at the University if North Carolina at Charlotte were evaluated with the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)1 at the beginning of the fall 1995 term. These beginning engineering, computer science, and engineering technology students were grouped in teams of four to seven students for projects in their ENGR 1201 Introduction to Engineering Practice and Principles or EGET 3071 Professional Development in Engineering Technology courses. As much as possible the teams were multi-disciplinary. The engineering teams included computer science, electrical, mechanical, civil, and general (undeclared) majors; the engineering technology teams included electrical, mechanical, civil, and manufacturing engineering technology majors. Half of the teams in each of the two courses were selected with consideration of the HBDI profiles of the students in an attempt to form heterogeneous or so-called “whole-brain” teams; the other half of the teams had random distributions of thinking preferences. At the end of the term, the team projects (and the team learning process) were evaluated by faculty teams in order to test the hypothesis that heterogeneous teams as a whole will have better problem-solving outcomes even when the homogeneous student teams have been taught about thinking preferences and their implications for group dynamics and communications. This is an important issue: can the cost and labor involved in using the HBDI (especially at the freshman level) be justified by its contribution to improved team outcomes? This paper reports the preliminary findings of the first phase of a longitudinal study at UNC Charlotte examining the relationships between the make-up of thinking style profiles of teams and the outcomes they produce. The current study attempts to validate earlier studies of the thinking preferences of engineering students conducted at the University of Toledo2. The study will add detailed quantitative and qualitative assessment data over a five year projected course. This paper reports initial anecdotal findings; early statistical assessment will be available at the ASEE ‘96 Annual Conference. Introduction. As part of the new curriculum development initiative in the William States Lee College of Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the faculty has developed three experimental courses designed to incorporate team-building skills at the outset of the students’ experience: Introduction to Engineering Practice and Principles I, II (ENGR 1201, 1202), and Professional Development in Engineering Technology (EGET 3071). These courses include team projects as well as individual assignments as vehicles for learning team skills, self development tools such as The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People 3, and the use of the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) as self awareness tools and for structuring teams. The courses, tools and measures used to assess the results are described in this paper. The authors focused, in particular, on the HBDI as a tool for self awareness and as a potential method for enhancing team performance by facilitating creation of teams balanced in thinking preference, or what is referred to as “whole brain” teams. The HBDI will also be used to assess the changes in thinking preferences of the students in these teams, as measured by the instrument, as they move

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Middleton, S. G., & Lumsdaine, M., & Buch, K. A., & Shelnutt, J. W. (1996, June), Forming Student Project Teams Based On Hermann Brain Dominance (Hbdi) Results Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6060

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