New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
This evidence-based practice paper evaluates the effect of a teamwork agreement on efficacy in group-based projects at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Teamwork is an essential part of engineering education and the profession, but some students have a negative attitude towards group-based academic assignments. The paper addresses the typical topic of interest for first-year engineering programs related to advising first-year students on group work. One method for improving student attitudes towards group work, other than in-class team-based projects, is to provide a seminar on teamwork skills. Despite this training, some teams still fail to connect the concepts with practice. As a means of actively engaging students in the teamwork training, several sections of a first-year multidisciplinary engineering design course were required to create their own teamwork agreement with the assistance of the course instructor. The aim of the agreement was to connect the skills discussed in training and the application of these skills to the team-based course project. This agreement was then submitted to the instructor for use in handling teamwork problems during the semester, and students were encouraged to use the recitation instructional team to resolve any problems with teamwork if they occurred. This method was inspired by a common practice used by many engineering team-based capstone courses at the senior level. Teamwork agreements act as a contract between team members to fulfill their established duties. They take the form of a brief document outlining the team members’ responsibilities and expectations related to teamwork, not the course project. Control sections were used to evaluate if there was a difference between students who use the teamwork agreement and those who did not. Asking questions directly related to the teamwork agreement would result in stated preference data. Instead, asking revealed preference questions on attitudes towards teamwork allowed for an analysis of how the students benefited from the teamwork agreement assignment. Once the control study was completed, a before-after analysis was used to identify statistically significant differences for the treatment sections. A pre-class survey and post-class survey will indicate if the teamwork agreement had a uniformly positive impact. Most survey questions have Likert scale answers to clearly define the responses and enable statistical analysis. Although all students showed an improvement in their teamwork efficacy, the students who participated in the teamwork agreement showed significantly greater improvements.
Bringardner, J., & Leslie, C., & Georgi, G. W., & D'Apice, A. M. (2016, June), Improving Efficacy in Group Projects with Teamwork Agreements Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25614
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