Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
While industry values teamwork and research suggests that diverse teams are more creative , there is limited understanding of how to support students to learn to work in such teams. We conducted a design-based research study to investigate how an asset-mapping activity could help team members to value each other’s contributions in chemical engineering design projects. As part of our ongoing effort to redesign the curriculum to better support diverse students to persist in chemical engineering, we have been guided by the notion of building on students’ assets and seeing their potential, rather than focusing on their deficits , . We extended this notion by investigating how to help students see the assets they and their teammates bring. We report on student progress in a sophomore-level material and energy balance course (n= 63 in 10 teams) and a capstone chemical engineering design course (n= 53 in 12 teams) at a large, Hispanic-serving research university in the Southwest. The sophomores had prior design experience, as they were in a cohort that began after the curriculum had been redesigned to incorporate design challenges throughout the core chemical engineering coursework. The seniors did not have prior design experience within the curriculum. Both courses stressed the importance of teamwork and engaged students in working on design challenges. Students completed a two-part activity: They first identified their own assets and the assets of their teammates. They were then guided to map the assets across their team members and critically evaluate areas of strength and weakness. To aid them on the second portion, we provided a list of specific skills valued in professional engineering practice. In this paper, we focus on professional communication, project management, and interpersonal / teamwork skills. We collected all student work related to the activity. We developed a coding scheme to analyze the qualitative data and conducted basic statistics (correlations and t-tests) to analyze quantitative data. The two areas that fewer students reported having skills were in project management and communication, particularly communicating outside of engineering. Overall, the sophomores tended to report similar numbers of team members with each professional skill as the seniors. Whereas the seniors could clearly distinguish between the professional skill areas, the sophomores were not adept at this. To understand the impact of the team asset-mapping activity, we compared the sophomores’ scores on items from a peer evaluation conducted twice during the semester. Early in the semester, students tended to report some difficulty managing conflicts related to team tasks, but by the end of the semester, significantly fewer teams did so. We also describe an asset-based modification we made to the teams in the senior capstone class.
Gomez, J., & Svihla, V. (2018, June), Supporting Diversity in Teams Through Asset Mapping Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31034
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