June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
New Engineering Educators
26.1492.1 - 26.1492.8
Educating Engineering Students on Effective Team Skills According to a study conducted by Darling and Dannel (2003), 70% of practicingengineers believe their career advancement is dependent upon their communication skills, yetindustry reports indicate that engineering graduates show skill deficiencies in the corecompetencies of communication and teamwork (Prescott, El-Sakran, Albasha, Aloul, & Al-Assaf, 2012). While most engineering undergraduate programs include team projects, there isoften little to no integration of curriculum on effective team practices and skills. Due to theimportance of these skills for engineers, Dannels, Anson, Bullard, and Peretti (2003) encouragetheir integration into the engineering classroom, suggesting that curriculum should emphasize thevalue of communication and teamwork, as well as reinforce the importance of teamwork instudent’s future engineering careers. In an effort to facilitate the teaching of these competenciesand skills in engineering classrooms, we created a research-based video that instructors canutilize to effectively teach team skills. In a study published in the Journal of Engineering Education, Borrego, Karlin, McNair,& Beddoes (2013) sought to determine the curriculum that engineering educators need toeffectively teach team skills by integrating theory from industrial-organizational (I-O)psychology, a field which studies human behavior at work. Their research on engineering studentteams identified five core constructs of effective teams that are critical to address inundergraduate engineering projects: social loafing (i.e., lack of team contribution),interdependence (i.e., the dependency of task completion on collaboration), conflict resolution,trust, and shared mental models (i.e., mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities thatguide team behaviors). We sought to expand on the work of Borrego et al. (2013) by using theseconstructs as the foundation for our video, but also incorporated additional research in I-O oneffective teams, as well as the current practices of well-known engineering institutions to fosterteam skills in their students. The result is a learning tool that puts all of this research into a formthat instructors can easily utilize in the classroom. The storyline of this research-based video follows a senior design project team of fourengineering students during three key points in their senior project: team formation, mid-pointcheck-in (where the team evaluates their processes halfway through the project), and projectcompletion. The video was developed with the assistance of performing arts students, who modelvarious scenarios that research indicates engineering students are likely to encounter. The videotakes approximately 15 minutes to watch, and can therefore be easily incorporated into classtime. This approach of creating a video rather than preparing curriculum for instructors to teachis especially helpful for those instructors who do not feel comfortable teaching these concepts,while still ensuring that students receive this information. In our presentation, we will review the research on and importance of teaching teamskills to engineering students to communicate its value. In addition, we will discuss howinstructors can integrate the video into their classrooms effectively and show brief clips from thefilm so that instructors can preview its content. Keywords: teamwork, engineering students, teaching team skills ReferencesBorrego, M., Karlin, J., McNair, L. D., & Beddoes, K. (2013, October). Team effectiveness theory from industrial and organizational psychology applied to engineering student project teams: A research review. Journal of Engineering Education, 102(4), 472-512.Dannels, D. P., Anson, C. M., Bullard, L., & Peretti, S. (2003, January). Challenges in learning communication skills in chemical engineering. Communication Education, 52(1), 50-56.Darling, A. L., & Dannels, D. P. (2003, January). Practicing engineers talk about the importance of talk: A report on the role of oral communication in the workplace. Communication Education, 52(1), 1-16.Prescott, D., El-Sakran, T., Albasha, L., Aloul, F., & Al-Assaf, Y. (2012). Teambuilding, innovation and the engineering communication interface. American Journal of Engineering Education, 3(1), 29-40.
Arvold, M., & Mow, S. D., & Cook, Z. W., & Goode, N., & Wasilewski, C. H., & Al-Hawaj, R. Y., & Plett, M. (2015, June), Teaching Teamwork: A Training Video Designed for Engineering Students Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24829
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