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Subscribing to WII-FM: When Will We Begin to Function as a Team?

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Classroom Management

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1138.1 - 24.1138.12



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Paper Authors


Andrew E. Jackson East Carolina University

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Dr. Jackson serves as a Tenured, Full Professor in the Department of Technology Systems at ECU. He is a senior faculty member in the Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) program where he teaches a variety of IET courses, including: Production Systems Engineering and Production Planning, Engineering Economics, Human Factors Engineering, and Risk Assessment. His career spans 40 years in the fields of aviation, aerospace, defense contract engineering support, systems acquisition, academics, and systems engineering.

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Sherion H. Jackson Grand Canyon Univeristy

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Sherion is a native Texan who currently makes her home in Eastern North Carolina. She earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Arizona State University, and her BS in Liberal Studies and MA in Elementary Education, both from the University of Central Florida. In the role of educator over the past 30+ years, she has served as associate professor, online facilitator, educational consultant, SACS Reviewer, mentor, school superintendent, school principal, and elementary teacher for various school districts and universities across the United States. Her experience in higher education consists of scholarship, administrative responsibilities, and facilitation of graduate and undergraduate level courses using several, unique online learning platforms and face-to-face delivery methods. Sherion truly enjoys working with adults in the online learning environment. She has facilitated over 100 online graduate level classes and authored or co-authored more than 30 journal articles.

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Subscribing to WII-FM: When will we Begin to Function as a Team?AbstractTeams are utilized in a variety of ways, covering a wide range of organizational functions. Mostworking professionals have been asked to serve on a team at one time or another. If not, thelikelihood that they will be asked to do so in at some time during their career is extremely high.Why is this true? First – and foremost – teams have been shown to flesh out more relevant issuesmore quickly and more thoroughly than any one individual can typically generate on his or herown. This fundamental assumption leads to the development of teams to address almost everyconceivable topic and in every recognizable domain. However, some fundamental questionshave plagued managers for years (if not for centuries). What if the team does not want to worktogether? – or – What if they merely do not know how to work together? That is where a basicunderstanding of group dynamics and team organizational skills comes into play.Tuckman (1965) identified four stages of group dynamics and has classified these four stages as:Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Watson, et al., (2001) added a new dimension toTuckman’s original model by including a fifth step called Mourning (or Reforming). To establishand maintain a productive team atmosphere, the leader of the team, or another manager whomay be outside of the group structure altogether, must monitor the dynamics and inter-personalrelationships that are occurring within the team. The important element is to move through theForming, Storming, and Norming phases as quickly and as efficiently as possible so theparticipants can begin the real work assigned to the team which resides in the Performance arena.Students and faculty face a particularly difficult task when working in academic teamenvironments. Most students realize that several artificial constraints are in play for thesestudent-centered projects. These artificial elements include – but are not limited to: 1) the short-term nature of the team assignments, 2) the final objective of the project assignment [usually areport or an artificial product] which is generally never developed into a sustainable design orfunctional product that will ultimately be manufactured, distributed, and maintained throughout atypical lifecycle, 3) the low probability that their individual long-term success is dependent onother members of the student team, 4) the student’s ability to remain in the background and letother team members do the bulk of the work knowing that they will likely receive the samebenefit (or project grade) in the end, and 5) the low probability that any long-term, adverseeffects will result if they do the minimum amount of work in their respective team . . . i.e. doingjust enough work to get through the course. This situation may result in a WII-FM or What’s InIt For Me philosophy by team members.This paper will address several team-related components that affect student success in both face-to-face (F2F) courses and in Distance Education (DE) courses and provide a template for facultyto use to address these issues. Similarities and differences in team effectiveness using F2F andDE delivery methodologies will also be addressed. Both synchronous and asynchronous DEcourse models will be discussed.

Jackson, A. E., & Jackson, S. H. (2014, June), Subscribing to WII-FM: When Will We Begin to Function as a Team? Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23071

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