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Teaming Tribulations: A Design Course Simulation Game

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED) Technical Session 11

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education Division (DEED)

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Paper Authors


Charlotte Marr de Vries Pennsylvania State University, Behrend College

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Dr. Charlotte de Vries is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State Erie, the Behrend College. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in 2009. She received her M.S. (2013) and Ph.D. (2014) from Penn State University.

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This work-in-progress paper discusses the development and implementation of a board game intended to simulate conversations that may occur in design-based projects. One of the challenging tasks for a design group is learning how to collaborate and argue in a constructive and productive way. This paper provides an overview of simulations and games used to assist pedagogy as well as efforts at improving teamwork in design courses, and utilizes this information to discuss the development and initial implementation of a pedagogical board game, "Teaming Tribulations." This game is intended to simulate the arguments that might occur within a design team discussion in a light hearted and friendly atmosphere. In Teaming Tribulations, students are asked to create a quick design in response to a simple prompt. They are asked to create and share their designs during the judgment-free "Concept Generation Phase." In the next phase of the game, "Concept Selection," they must argue with their teammates to select the best design to submit for their fictional group project. The twist of the game is that the initial bias of students (which design or designs they would like the team to submit as the final selection) as well as their personality (the method that they use to argue) are both determined by randomly dealt cards. This causes the students to step outside of their comfort zone and internally reflect on how they argue their opinions normally versus how others might make a similar argument. In the "Grading" phase of the game, the team receives a score based on if they were able to receive a majority or total consensus. The objective of implementing this game within a classroom environment is to start the discussion on teaming, as well as provide a low-fidelity simulation of the design process for comparison during the semester. Later in the semester, concept selection methods are taught with the reminder that it is not ideal to simply argue based on initial biases and gut feelings. The game was introduced in both a first-year and capstone engineering design course. The first-year students were asked to reflect on the experience and determine what personalities hinder a discussion and which combinations are beneficial to a group's experience and success.

de Vries, C. M. (2023, June), Teaming Tribulations: A Design Course Simulation Game Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--44026

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