Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled
April 30, 2020
April 30, 2020
October 10, 2020
Design activities represent an important aspect of undergraduate engineering education and preliminary and conceptual phases can have substantial downstream impacts on decision making. To improve engineering design outcomes for students it is vital that initial stages of design activities are conducted in ways that promote equity and address issues of power and privilege. While the influence of team gender composition has been studied in engineering design project-based settings, most work has investigated these phenomena over the course of a semester or academic year. As a result, relatively less is understood about how gender composition affects the micro-level interactions that take place during various design activities. The purpose of this work in progress, then, is to explore the ways gender composition might impact brainstorming and ideation activities. We conducted six brainstorming sessions and follow up focus groups. In each group, we varied both the team gender composition as well as the structure of the brainstorming activity itself. Brainstorming sessions were audio-recorded and transcripts are qualitatively analyzed according to recommendations by Miles & Huberman (1994) for open coding procedures. As of this writing, analysis is being conducted and the codebook refined by the research team. But preliminary findings suggest that potential differences in the experiences of men and women during brainstorming. That is, women on male-dominant teams spoke up less and were less likely to contribute in equal proportions. At the same time, early findings suggest that when women make up at least half of the brainstorming team, interpersonal interactions become more supportive and create space for all participants to voice a wider range of ideas. Attending to the gender composition of an engineering team can impact the outcomes of conceptual and preliminary brainstorming activities. In particular, when more women were on a team, ideas were shared more freely and judgment was more likely to be withheld. For instructors, managing the gender composition while forming teams can help to create a more equitable team environment while potentially enhancing creative capacity within a team.
Gius, G., & Osman, A., & Nevrly, M. R., & Lutz, B. D. (2020, April), Full Paper: Exploring the Influence of Team Gender Composition During Conceptual Brainstorming Activities Paper presented at Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled, Davis, California. https://peer.asee.org/36028
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