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Reinforcing Communication Skills Through Participation in a Team-based Weekly Innovation Challenge

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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

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division – Entrepreneurship Education in New Contexts

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1327.1 - 26.1327.8



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Paper Authors


Federico Garcia Lorca Saint Louis University, Parks College of Eng.

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Federico Garcia Lorca is pursuing a PhD. in Aerospace Engineering with his research focusing on entrepreneurial engineering in higher education. Currently Federico is involved in the design of innovation challenges outside the classroom.

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Daniel M. Ferguson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Daniel M. Ferguson is the recipient of four NSF awards for research in engineering education and a research associate at Purdue University. Prior to coming to Purdue he was Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio Northern University. Before assuming that position he was Associate Director of the Inter-professional Studies Program and Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology and involved in research in service learning, assessment processes and interventions aimed at improving learning objective attainment. Prior to his University assignments he was the Founder and CEO of The EDI Group, Ltd. and The EDI Group Canada, Ltd, independent professional services companies specializing in B2B electronic commerce and electronic data interchange. The EDI Group companies conducted syndicated market research, offered educational seminars and conferences and published The Journal of Electronic Commerce. He was also a Vice President at the First National Bank of Chicago, where he founded and managed the bank’s market leading professional Cash Management Consulting Group, initiated the bank’s non credit service product management organization and profit center profitability programs and was instrumental in the breakthrough EDI/EFT payment system implemented by General Motors. Dr. Ferguson is a graduate of Notre Dame, Stanford and Purdue Universities and a member of Tau Beta Pi.

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Sridhar S. Condoor Saint Louis University, Parks College of Eng.

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Reinforcing Communication Skills through Participation in a Team-based Weekly Innovation Challenge.Developing communication skills is an important outcome for accreditation across STEM andnon-STEM disciplines. This paper examines whether communication skills are developed orreinforced through participation in a weekly team based competitive activity in a largeMidwestern private university, the Weekly Innovation Challenge (WIC). The WIC is an extra-curricular outside the classroom activity lasting 60 minutes that encourages students to approachproblems/challenges in an innovative and entrepreneurial manner. The WIC is innovative in acreative sense because students are faced with unusual problems that must be solved withuncommon tools and supplies. The WIC is entrepreneurial because in order to win a givenchallenge students must focus not only on any technical dimensions of their solution but alsoconsider how the solution fits the specific overall WIC objective, the user or client value of theirapproach and how effectively they deliver their solution to WIC judges. Winning teams in eachWIC receive $100.00 per team member.This assessment of the communications learning that occurs in a WIC draws on two sources ofdata: first, written reflections submitted by WIC participants [169 reflections over the past threeyears] and a focus group session conducted at the end of the academic year 2013-2014. Theparticipant reflections were analyzed using a qualitative study approach using axial coding withcodes drawn from communication assessment rubrics provided by the Association of AmericanColleges and Universities (AACU). Six AACU codes were used to examine how studentsexplain and describe their verbal, non-verbal and gesturing interactions with others on their team,how they promote their solution to their team and judges, the depth of their emotionaltransparency, their level of engagement when working with teammates and the clearness ofpurpose in presenting their solutions[s]. In addition, the overall organization of the writtenreflection was evaluated.Strong evidence was found that several aspects of communication skills were either introducedor reinforced during these team based WIC activities.

Garcia Lorca, F., & Ferguson, D. M., & Condoor, S. S. (2015, June), Reinforcing Communication Skills Through Participation in a Team-based Weekly Innovation Challenge Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24664

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