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Teaching Freshman Students To Assess Team Performance

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.588.1 - 5.588.5



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Joan A. Burtner

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

Session 2793

Teaching Freshman Students to Assess Team Performance

Joan A. Burtner Mercer University


This paper describes an approach to teaching teaming that has been used in a freshman engineering design course for the past three years. The approach includes three components. First, provide students with a variety of teaming experiences. Second, teach students some basics of team functioning. Finally, establish a culture in which self-assessment and evaluation of others is expected. The paper briefly describes the use of the following class activities: 1) a survey designed to establish a baseline of team functioning for each individual, 2) jigsaw exercises related to team roles, stages of team development and typical team problems, 3) a team-readiness self-assessment essay, and 4) periodic team assessment reports. Through these activities each student demonstrates the ability to evaluate teaming skills.

I. Introduction

Mercer University’s School of Engineering has taken the opportunity provided by the transition from the quarter system to the semester system to engage in a two-year-long curriculum renewal effort. As part of this effort, our quarter-long freshman Introduction to Engineering course (EGR 103) was expanded to a semester-long course (EGR 107).

The quarter-long Introduction to Engineering Design course became a required part of the freshman curriculum at Mercer University in 1987. The overall objective of EGR 103 was to introduce engineering students to the design process. In this course, teams of students were assigned an open-ended project in which they were required to design, build, and test a simple device. Although the projects were somewhat open-ended, the course was highly structured. The students were guided through the design process through the use of specific deliverables and concrete due dates. The course also emphasized the importance of communication; student teams were required to deliver oral and written design reviews at the middle of the project and at the end of the project. A detailed description of the evolution of the quarter-long freshman design course is included in a previous paper. 1

II. Course Development

Although the basic goals of the Introduction to Engineering Design course remained the same, the curriculum was revised somewhat during the switch from quarters to semesters. The students were still required to work together in teams to design, build and test a working prototype. However, as course coordinator, the author made two basic changes to the curriculum. First, several lessons on teaming skills (the teaming module) were added. Second, the grading scheme was modified to include an individual team participation component.

Burtner, J. A. (2000, June), Teaching Freshman Students To Assess Team Performance Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8750

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