New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Electrical and Computer
In line with the engineering accreditation board’s guidelines for program outcomes(1), this study narrows in on the ability of undergraduate engineers to function in foreign teams (although not multidisciplinary) and their ability to communicate effectively. The purpose of this research was to assess the effects of systematic membership change within teams and the role of communication on student’s perceptions of learning. In an attempt to mirror the reality of engineering work life, a systematic membership change was imposed on an electrical engineering class to situate students within a permanent team, while still engaging in the benefits and challenges of working and communicating with a new team. This emerged in the form of students working with a different team for one lab and attaining the experience of working with guest members in their permanent teams for four labs. The sample consisted of 174 second year engineering undergraduate students enrolled in the “Electronic Devices and Materials” course at a large western Canadian University. Students were randomly assigned to a four-person team. The course contained five team labs and variables of interest were collected via online survey after each lab. The data was analyzed using multilevel growth modeling. Results found that communication was critical for individual’s perceptions of learning. Individuals who reported high levels of communication reported significantly higher levels of perceptions of learning than those students who reported low levels of communication during the first lab. In addition, there was a significant difference in the trajectories of the students across time such that those who reported low levels of communication continued to decline in their self-reports of learning throughout the semester whereas those who reported high levels of communication remained high on perceptions of learning throughout the semester. Furthermore, an important antecedent identified for an individual's likelihood to report high levels of communication within a team was the level of social identity that individual reported during the previous lab. High social identity was negatively related to following communication reports over time whereas low social identity was positively related to communication. These results will be discussed further in the paper. With students’ perceptions of learning as an outcome, communication proved critical during this time for students’ success within their own, as well as others, teams.
1. Criteria for accrediting engineering programs, 2015-2016. (n.d.) In Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.abet.org/accreditation/accreditation-criteria/criteria-for-accrediting-engineering-programs-2015-2016/
A presentation is preferred.
Deacon, A., & O'Neill, T., & Murari, K. (2016, June), Team Membership Change and the Critical Role of Communication Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26065
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