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Implementing Student Learning Teams In Engineering Economics

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.323.1 - 3.323.8



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Paper Authors

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Robert Martinazzi

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

Session 1639


Robert Martinazzi University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

ABSTRACT Universities constantly strive to provide students with a solid education in their discipline. The real challenge in obtaining this goal is the creation of an educational environment that stimulates and encourages student learning. The key to establishing this dynamic learning environment involves engendering in students a deep personal sense of ownership of their education. When students accept the personal responsibility for learning they automatically assume a more proactive role in the educational process.

Using “Student Learning Teams” is one way of fostering the student’s sense of ownership. Learning becomes both a personal and group responsibility with individual team members holding each other accountable for the course material. Team sessions or meetings become mini-classroom experiences with every member functioning in a variety of important roles inherent in any team. Also, developing teams following engineering models used in industry provides the “organizational” foundation, authenticity and realism necessary for a meaningful and worthwhile student learning experience.

Research on group development in industry indicates a team’s effectiveness is a function of five areas encompassing the performance domain. These areas include mission, roles, operating processes, interpersonal relationships, and inter-team relations.1 When using “Student Learning Teams” in an academic setting each of these areas must be thoroughly understood and adequately addressed by the faculty member and student team member. Knowledge of these areas significantly increases the team’s level of performance. This understanding permits teams to achieve a synergistic relationship that greatly enhances the likelihood that the team’s goals will be accomplished.

While this paper discusses incorporating “Student Learning Teams” in Engineering Economics classes the concept is equally applicable and has been successfully implemented in both Engineering Statics and Dynamics classes. The paper provides explanations and examples on how to incorporate each of the five functional areas into “Student Learning Teams”. Guidelines and suggestions based on “lessons learned” from “coaching” the “Student Learning Teams” are presented to assist those interested in further exploring this method of teaching.


Cooperative learning at the college level has been lauded as one of the most effective means to enhance student learning. This was pointed out explicitly in the following reference.

“The best answer to the question, “What is the most effective method of teaching?” is that it depends on the goal, the student, the content, and the teacher. But the next best answer is, ‘Students teaching other students.’ There is a wealth of evidence that peer teaching is extremely effective for a wide range of goals, content, and students of different levels and personalities.”2

Martinazzi, R. (1998, June), Implementing Student Learning Teams In Engineering Economics Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7175

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