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Improving Team Performance In A Capstone Design Course Using The Jigsaw Technique And Electronic Peer Evaluation

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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

Design in Engineering Eduaction - Poster Session

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.864.1 - 12.864.15



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Paper Authors

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Alan Cheville Oklahoma State University

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Christine Co Oklahoma State University

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Bear Turner Oklahoma State University

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

Improving Team Performance in a Capstone Design Course using the Jigsaw Technique and Electronic Peer Evaluation Introduction

Most engineering departments use capstone design courses to give student teams the opportunity to design, build, and test a complex project. The advantages of capstone programs are numerous. Such courses expose students to many of the realistic design constraints engineers face. Capstone courses are, in a majority of programs 1, done by teams of students. Since many capstone courses are industry sponsored, students are able to learn project constraints and budgeting. For these reasons capstone courses are the primary mechanism used by many universities to meet ABET criteria 2, particularly for outcomes that aren’t met in more traditional course formats. Since capstone courses tend to focus on projects which are specific and unique there is no widely accepted model or textbook on which capstone courses are based 3. The outcomes that can be easily integrated into capstone courses drawn from the a-k outcomes include: (d) an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams (f) an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility (g) an ability to communicate effectively (h) the broad education necessary to understand the impact of solutions in a global and societal context (i) a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning (j) a knowledge of contemporary issues (k) an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern scientific and technical tools

The electrical engineering department at Oklahoma State University uses a two course capstone design sequence. The first course teaches skills required for design, while the second course has teams tackle open-ended design projects. The paper addresses curricular changes made to the first capstone course which prepare students for team- based design projects in the second course. Specifically we address how to better achieve and document ABET outcome (d), student functioning on multidisciplinary teams. Although ABET requires that students be able to function on “multidisciplinary” teams, the term “multidisciplinary” is left open to interpretation. We have adapted the jigsaw technique, common to elementary and secondary school classrooms 4,5, to form teams and give each student on the team a unique role and a unique set of skills that permits them to contribute to the team in a meaningful way. We also address ways of improving objective evaluation of student written reports in order to meet ABET outcome (g), “an ability to communicate effectively”.

The remainder of this paper presents the results of three curricular changes made to a capstone course in electrical engineering to address these outcomes. The three changes are: setting up a course and team structure that supports the jigsaw technique, implementing peer evaluations that incorporate anonymous feedback to students, and adopting detailed grading rubrics that were made available to students. The changes help to build functional teams, increase participation by “marginalized” students, and results in student artifacts that demonstrate technical communication at a high level.

Cheville, A., & Co, C., & Turner, B. (2007, June), Improving Team Performance In A Capstone Design Course Using The Jigsaw Technique And Electronic Peer Evaluation Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1891

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