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Strategies Of Assessing Multi Disciplinary Collaborative Experiences

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Teams

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1101.1 - 13.1101.12



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Paper Authors


Samantha Jacques

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Samantha J. Richerson, PhD is the program director of the Biomedical Engineering program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. She received her PhD from Louisiana Tech University in 2003 and taught for two years at Bucknell University. She moved to MSOE in 2005 and became Program Director in 2007. Her research interests are in effective teaching and learning methodologies as well as the effects of diabetes on balance and biomedical signal and image processing.

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Deepti Suri Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Deepti Suri, PhD is the program director of the Software Engineering program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. She received her PhD from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2000 and has several years of industrial experience. She joined the SE faculty in 2000 and has been the program director of the SE program since 2006. Her research interests include software engineering architecture, analysis and design and educational research.

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

Strategies for Assessing Multi-Disciplinary Collaborative Experiences

Abstract The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) in its Criterion 3 requires that “engineering programs must demonstrate that their graduates have an ability to function on a multi-disciplinary team”. Most schools are struggling to facilitate this interaction for their students and, although progress is slow, successful experiences are being developed. The next step is how to assess the effectiveness of this interaction and constantly improve it. The Software Engineering (SE) and Biomedical Engineering (BE) program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) have developed a successful and sustainable interaction between their students in the junior year. This collaboration has been fine tuned over the past five years to clearly define the requirements and expectations of each student, and thus the instructors have turned their focus to assessing this interaction. By using both direct measures (joint faculty assessments) and indirect measures (student self- and group assessment) faculty have begun to assess the effect of the interaction on the ability of students to function in multi-disciplinary teams. This paper will detail the multi-disciplinary experience, the assessment methodologies, as well as discuss how to adapt these methodologies to other multi-disciplinary collaborative experiences.

Introduction The engineering graduates of the future must not only have a strong disciplinary base, but must also possess an ability think globally, to work on a team and collaborate with others in other fields, to appreciate specialists from across multiple disciplines and with multiple perspectives, and be demographically diverse1. The Engineering 2020 report2 as well as a myriad of other sources lends guidance on how the engineering curriculum should be reshaped to meet the demands of the modern engineering revolution. In addition to these changes, the Council of Competitiveness also recommends that there be increased collaboration amongst engineers (inter-disciplinary activities) and others (cross-organizational activities) with relevant expertise1,3. Several of these recommendations have already been incorporated by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for all engineering programs in its Engineering Criteria 2000 (EC2000). Its Criterion 3 known as ABET (a) thorough (k) describes the skills that the students are expected to know and accomplish at the time of graduation. Of particular interest and pertinent to the current discussion are criterions 3(d): an ability to function on multi- disciplinary teams, 3(f): an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility, and 3(g): an ability to communicate effectively. In most engineering programs, capstone design courses tend to be the courses where these ABET criteria are typically addressed. Capstone courses have evolved over the years from professor defined designs to industry-sponsored projects where “real” problems are given4,5. As constructivist theories of learning became popular, and the academic community recognized that that learning is a social activity6, these capstone project-based courses were seen as opportunities to improve students’ ability to work in teams7-9, and improve their communication skills10-14.

Jacques, S., & Suri, D. (2008, June), Strategies Of Assessing Multi Disciplinary Collaborative Experiences Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3190

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