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Pre-defined Roles and Team Performance for First-year Students

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 1: It's All About Teams and Teamwork

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1240.1 - 26.1240.14



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Paper Authors


Jess W. Everett Rowan University

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Jess W. Everett has worked in four distinct areas: waste management operations research, contaminated site assessment and remediation, education innovation, and sustainable engineering. He has employed a wide variety of techniques, including computer modeling, laboratory experiments, field testing, and surveys. His current research focuses on energy conservation, alternative energy generation, engineering learning communities, and hybrid courses (courses with classroom and on-line aspects).

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Jenahvive K. Morgan Rowan University

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Dr. Jenahvive Morgan currently teaches Freshman and Sophomore Engineering Clinics as an Instructor at Rowan University. Dr. Morgan has a PhD and MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University. Her teaching experience includes work as a graduate student facilitator, and engineering teaching consultant. She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and is an ASCE ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Fellow, 2014.

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Kaitlin Engle Mallouk Rowan University Orcid 16x16

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Kaitlin Mallouk is an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering at Rowan University. Kaitlin has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MS in Environmental Engineering in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois. She is completing her PhD in Environmental Engineering with a focus on Air Quality Engineering at the University of Illinois.

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Pre-defined roles and team performance for first year studentsSmith et al. (2005) proposes five key elements to creating successful collaborative learningexperiences for students: positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individualaccountability, developing teamwork skills and group processing. The goal of this paper is tocompare the effect of rotating pre-defined roles on team performance, which is expected to fosterall five elements.Students in a first-year introduction to engineering course work in teams to complete a numberof laboratory activities resulting in multiple team-authored reports. In Fall 2014 teams in threesections of ~25 students self-selected pre-defined roles (Treatment A) while teams in twosimilarly sized sections developed their own roles (Treatment B). The five sections were taughtby three professors, with two of the professors teaching sections of each treatment type.In Treatment A students select specific pre-defined roles to perform for each lab: before(literature reviewer); during (leader, data collector, and operator); and after (section writer,compiler, and reviewer). Students are required to select different roles for different labs. Tosponsor individual accountability, teams submit three versions of each report: • Rough Draft – raw sections as created by each section writer with author name next to each section title; • Draft – report after compiler has addressed grammatical and spelling errors, style issues, and missing information; and • Final – report after reviewer has attempted to correct any errors or omissions left by the compiler.They also identify their roles and evaluate themselves and their team members online. Asummary of each student’s peer evaluation is made available before the next team activity,helping team members to evaluate their own contributions.In Treatment B no pre-defined roles are supplied or required. Teams create and commit to a teamcontract, develop their own roles, and fill out a peer review form on paper. For both treatments,peer evaluation results are used at the end of the semester to modify laboratory grades up to 10 %up or down.The effectiveness of each treatment will be evaluated using: (1) student peer evaluations; (2)survey questions completed by students at the beginning and end of the semester; (3) professorobservations of students over the course of the semester, especially team conflicts; and (4) focusgroups in each section conducted at the end of the semester. The results are expected to providefeedback that can be used to determine the effectiveness of predefined roles in training first yearstudents to work on teams.Smith, K. A., Sheppard, S. D., Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T. (2005). Pedagogies ofEngagement: Classroom-Based Practices. Journal of Engineering Education. 94(1), 87-101.

Everett, J. W., & Morgan, J. K., & Mallouk, K. E. (2015, June), Pre-defined Roles and Team Performance for First-year Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24577

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: © 2015 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