Wentworth Institute of Technology, Massachusetts
April 22, 2022
April 22, 2022
April 23, 2022
Teamwork projects can be difficult and unsatisfying experiences for first-year engineering students, especially for those with racial, ethnic, and/or gender identities that have been historically underrepresented in engineering programs. Using participatory action research (PAR) and qualitative research methods, this study explores whether engaging students in a series of focus groups and online surveys help disrupt negative teamwork interactions and encourage inclusive student engagement with team projects in an Introduction to Mechanical Engineering class. All participants in this study are engineering students at a college of engineering in New England, and include 6-7 students in the focus groups, two students (one junior, one senior) who served as peer facilitators, and over 35 students who responded to the online surveys. PAR is a research framework that prioritizes the active participation of all community members -- in this case, engineering students and faculty members -- to create an inclusive action process for problem-solving and constructive change. The researchers previously used PAR to successfully improve student satisfaction with an engineering summer bridge program. In this continuation study, focus groups and online surveys were tailored to specifically address inclusive teamwork practices. During the focus groups, students were encouraged to reflectively think on their core values and assets, as well as how they connect with teamwork in engineering. They were also engaged in constructive thought exercises regarding their initiative and what support they need from others, and have the opportunity to make recommendations to faculty regarding possible changes in the teamwork projects. The online surveys provided further opportunity for students to reflect on their teamwork experiences, and allowed the research team to use an intersectional approach for analyzing these experiences with regard to the students’ racial, ethnic, gender, and educational backgrounds. This paper describes the process and challenges associated with recruiting participants, training student facilitators, designing PAR focus group activities, constructing and administering online surveys, reporting back to faculty members, and analyzing participant data. Student recommendations to promote positive teamwork experiences and a summary of variations in teamwork experiences are also discussed.
Deterding, E., & Agyeman, N., & Tripathy, S. T., & Keough, C., & Lewis, S., & Chandra, K. (2022, April), Inclusive Teamwork: Using Participatory Action Research (PAR) to Improve Teamwork Projects in Intro to Mechanical Engineering Paper presented at ASEE-NE 2022, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Massachusetts. https://peer.asee.org/42182
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015