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Impact Of Student Selection Of Design Projects On Team Performance

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Capstone Design III

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.827.1 - 12.827.14



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Paper Authors

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Peter Orono Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis

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Stephen Ekwaro-Osire Texas Tech University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



In the capstone design courses, the instructor can choose among different strategies of assigning students to project teams. One of these strategies allows the students select the project they would like to work on from a list. This sometimes proceeds in an ad-hoc manner. Currently, literature offers limited research that looks at the reasons why students select certain projects. Furthermore, the work examining the impact of this selection on team performance is also limited. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of the students’ project selection on team performance. This is carried out by (1) investigating the rationalization students undertake during the selection process, and (2) analyzing data concerning the influence of the selection on team performance. Two instruments are presented in this paper that can be used to analyze the impact of student selection of design projects on the team performance. These instruments are also used to track the types of projects the students select, such as faculty projects, industry supported projects, student initiated projects, and projects for design competitions. A systematic methodology, based on the students’ rankings of all the projects for assigning students to their preferred choice of projects, is also presented. Whereas the data presented shows that students generally read carefully the project description, the majority of students prefer the project clients to make short presentations. To analyze the impact of project choice on team performance, four categories, based on the student project choice, were proposed. Teams whose majority did not get their first choice of project, showed the largest drop between the mid-semester peer ratings compared to end-of-semester peer ratings. This study was performed at two universities.

1. Introduction

The teaching of creative engineering design has a reputation for being both complex and challenging 1, but also for being underestimated 2. The vagueness and open-endedness of the design process and the high level of creativity involved presents challenges for both students and lecturer and require further research and improvement 3. Globalization and fast changing technologies require that engineering design education prepare students to become flexible, innovative, and resourceful engineers 4. A researcher 5, reacting to increasing concern in industry about traditional engineering education, argues that ‘autonomy and support’ are significant contributors to creative engineering. This translates into an emphasis on creativity in a wider sense than is currently practiced 6. Such an approach involves: analyzing individual learning types; providing engineering design tools, such as hand sketches; and introducing evolutionary design. This also involves exploring the notion of team creativity 7.

Team creativity is an important aspect of pan-mentoring. Pan-mentoring is a pedagogical approach to creative engineering design education that strives to establish a close relationship

Orono, P., & Ekwaro-Osire, S. (2007, June), Impact Of Student Selection Of Design Projects On Team Performance Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2983

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