Asee peer logo

gruepr: An Open Source Program for Creating Student Project Teams

Download Paper |

Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Monday Cornucopia (Classroom Innovations)

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32880

Download Count

2

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Joshua L. Hertz Northeastern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0650-5141

visit author page

Dr. Hertz earned a B.S. in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University in 1999 and then a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006. Following this, he worked at the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. He joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware as an Assistant Professor in September 2008, leading a lab that researched the effects of composition and nanostructure on ionic conduction and surface exchange in ceramic materials. In 2014, he moved to Northeastern University to focus on teaching and developing curriculum in the First Year Engineering program.

visit author page

biography

Duncan Davis Northeastern University

visit author page

Duncan Davis is an Assistant Teaching Professor in First Year Engineering. His research focuses on using gamification to convey course content in first year classes. Mostly recently, he has implemented a series of escape room projects to teach engineering to first year students through the process of designing, prototyping, and building these play experiences.

visit author page

biography

Brian Patrick O'Connell Northeastern University

visit author page

Dr. O'Connell is an assistant teaching professor in the First-Year Engineering group at Northeastern University. His undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering came from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2006. He then worked for Kollmorgen Electro/Optical as a mechanical engineer developing periscopes and optronic masts. In 2011, he returned to academia at Tufts University, earning his MS and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering for his work with low-cost educational technologies and his development and use of technologies to aid usage tracking in makerspaces to examine them as interactive learning environments.

visit author page

biography

Constantine Mukasa Northeastern University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-1851-8073

visit author page

Constantine Mukasa received a B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Bethune-Cookman University, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA in 2007, and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, in 2013 and 2017, respectively. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. His research interests include Engineering Education, Wireless Communications, satellite and mobile communication Systems, vehicular networks, wireless network connectivity, and interference modeling.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This complete, evidence-based practice paper presents a study on a new open-source software tool that was written by the authors for creating optimal student teams. Creating effective teams can be a difficult task for an instructor, especially when creating them from first year students who have yet to establish preferred work habits or preferred teammates. In many cases, instructors of first year courses will form student teams by randomly assigning students to teams, by allowing students to self-select teammates, or, at best, by trying to optimize teams using whatever limited knowledge they have about these new students. Here, we present and analyze gruepr, a new software tool for partitioning up to 200 students into optimal project teams. The tool has been released under an open source license and is freely available. The software tool runs on the instructor’s computer using survey data entered by the students into, and then downloaded from, a Google Form. The instructor has considerable flexibility in choosing the content of the survey questions as well as the definition of a quantitatively optimal team. The optimization problem is computationally difficult, and the search space is immense. For example, there are over 1E19 ways to partition 32 students into 8 teams of 4. Thus, manually assembling a set of teams is time consuming and highly unlikely to provide an optimal result. It is for this reason that gruepr was created. Gruepr uses a genetic algorithm to perform the optimization. In this paper, we first discuss the need for such a program, then describe how an instructor uses gruepr, then present the design of the program, and finally provide analysis of gruepr and results from its recent use by 7 faculty members in the formation of teams within 18 sections of a project-based, first year engineering course.

Hertz, J. L., & Davis, D., & O'Connell, B. P., & Mukasa, C. (2019, June), gruepr: An Open Source Program for Creating Student Project Teams Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32880

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015