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gruepr, an Open Source Tool for Creating Optimal Student Teams

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Technical Session 9: Pedagogical Tools

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Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Joshua L. Hertz Northeastern University Orcid 16x16

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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.

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Susan F. Freeman Northeastern University

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Susan Freeman, is a member of Northeastern University’s first-year engineering facutly, a group of teaching faculty expressly devoted to the first-year Engineering Program at Northeastern University. The focus of this team is on providing a consistent, comprehensive, and constructive educational experience that endorses the student-centered, professional and practice-oriented mission of Northeastern University. Susan Freeman has moved into the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Education role, and continues as a teaching professor in the first-year program along with many new responsibilities.

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This paper presents the latest updates and newest findings on gruepr, a recently released, open-source software tool that can be used to place students onto optimal project teams. This software was designed and written by one of the authors as a no-cost alternative to existing solutions, such as CATME. The software is written in C++, and currently comprises about 8000 lines of code. Executables for Windows and macOS are publicly available, as is the code itself, released under the GNU General Public License. Recent updates to the software include the use of the Qt libraries for a graphical user interface and other expectations of modern software applications, multi-threading some of the optimization task using OpenMP, adding flexibility to the set of data that can be used to define an optimal project team, and increased automation of the use of Google Forms to collect the student data. In this paper, the current design of the program is presented along with validation of its use by an increasing number of faculty. Validation is presented in the form of results from a survey of faculty to assess what student information they collected and used in forming teams, and what their perceptions were of faculty and student experience with the use of gruepr.

Hertz, J. L., & Freeman, S. F. (2020, June), gruepr, an Open Source Tool for Creating Optimal Student Teams Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34717

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