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Teaching Teaming Through Spacecraft Design

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Teaming Skills Through Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1099.1 - 7.1099.8



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Paper Authors

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Rachel Shinn

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Session 2525

Teaching Teaming Through Spacecraft Design

Dr. Rachel Shinn, Dr. Ronald Madler

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ


Project teamwork is essential to the spacecraft design process – in industry as well as in the classroom. At our university, engineering seniors begin the spacecraft design courses having some project teamwork experience, but mostly for short duration projects. We instructors have found that our students don’t necessarily possess the skills required to be productive members of a larger engineering team for an entire semester. To help the students work better in teams during the spacecraft design experience, we have implemented a series of exercises and structures. This paper outlines the tools we have used to enable teaming, the grading strategies we have implemented and the interdisciplinary aspects of our design teams.

I. Introduction

Because of the complexity of spacecraft design, with its many subsystems, teaming is an essential part of our design courses. We cannot take for granted that students will know how to operate in a team environment and we must enable students to learn the teaming process. Students need both guidance and structure to enable them to work effectively in teams.

In this paper, we will present various tools we have used to teach teaming to our senior design students. These tools address the issues of giving the students support and guidance, providing a framework for teaming, handling under-performing team members and better communication with instructors. We also present the grading strategy we have used since grading team projects can be challenging. Because our spacecraft design projects, by their nature, involve aspects from various disciplines, we also present the interdisciplinary aspects of our design teams.

II. Tools for Teaming

Background We began our experience working with teams in the fall of 1999. As novices, we assigned teams and hoped that the teams would work well together with minimal guidance. Some teams worked

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Shinn, R. (2002, June), Teaching Teaming Through Spacecraft Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10470

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