June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Design in Engineering Education
22.829.1 - 22.829.11
Improved Team Function: Student-Driven Team Rules and ConsequencesThe ability to effectively work in teams is a highly desirable quality in engineering graduates.Building these skills is essential to training students to participate successfully in the workplace.Further, given that much of engineering is taught in a team environment, how well the teamfunctions is directly related to student learning of the course material.Creating functional student teams requires understanding and agreement of acceptable behaviorsand levels of performance, clear consequences for violations, and buy-in from the individualteam members. However, in practice team rules are rarely articulated, but a commonunderstanding is simply assumed. As a consequence, acceptable behaviors are first addressed ordiscussed when they already have been violated. By then, the acceptable behaviors and inparticular the consequences of violation of the behaviors become ad hoc. Decisions onconsequences commonly become subjective based on personality issues and not measurementsof the actual infractions. This is where team functionality disintegrates or fractionalizes andoften requires outside (faculty) intervention.Team dysfunction creates two significant consequences. First, students do not learn thenecessary elements to function well in a team. While college students can most often completeassigned tasks with even low functioning teams, they will not be able to do so in an industrialenvironment. Second, student learning of the topical material that the team is working on isreduced. The most common version of this is when a few members or an individual decide totake over the completion of the assignments and disregard the input of other members. Thiscreates a situation with a few students learning the material (those who completed theassignment) and the rest relying on group grading.This work reports on the effect of student-driven team boundaries and concomitant consequenceson team functioning and individual responsibility to the team. To increase both studentunderstanding of the rules and consequences and increase buy-in, at the beginning of thesemester, students develop their own set of rules. The methodologies used are student reflections,survey, and instructor observations from multiple engineering design classes. The classes rangefrom first year with little to no team experience to third year students who have many classesrequiring team work.
Shull, P. J., & Firetto, C., & Passmore, L. (2011, June), Improved Team Function: Student-Driven Team Rules and Consequences Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18110
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