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Teamwork in First-Year Engineering Projects Courses: Does Training Students in Team Dynamics Improve Course Outcomes and Student Experiences?

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD 1: Projects and Teamwork in First-Year Courses

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

23.1159.1 - 23.1159.15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22544

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

biography

Malinda S Zarske University of Colorado, Boulder

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Malinda S. Zarske is the director of K-12 Engineering Education at the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. A former high school and middle school science and math teacher, she has advanced degrees in teaching secondary science from the Johns Hopkins University and in civil engineering from CU-Boulder. She is also a First-Year Engineering Projects Instructor, Faculty Advisor for SWE, and on the development team for the TeachEngineering digital library. Her primary research interests are on student identity, recruitment, and retention in K-12 and undergraduate engineering.

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biography

Janet L Yowell University of Colorado Boulder

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Janet serves as the Associate Director of K-12 Engineering Education for the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Involved since 2000, she collaborates on the College’s ambitious K-12 engineering initiatives, including their capacity-building and school partnership programs. She coordinates the Integrated Teaching and Learning Program’s NSF-funded TEAMS Program (Tomorrow’s Engineers… creAte. iMagine. Succeed.) which engages more than 2,200 K-12 students in engineering throughout the academic year and summer months. She is also a contributing curriculum writer and editor for the TeachEngineering digital library, also an NSF-funded project.
Janet holds a BA in Communication from CU-Boulder and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Information and Learning Technology at CU-Denver.

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Samantha Maierhofer University of Colorado, Boulder

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Samantha Maierhofer is a Discovery Learning Apprentice at CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. She is currently a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering at CU. Her research interest is in the area of team dynamics on the engineering undergraduate experience. Her current duties include analyzing data and leading focus groups.

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Derek T Reamon University of Colorado, Boulder

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Abstract

Teamwork in First-Year Engineering Projects Courses: Does Training Students in Team Dynamics Improve Course Outcomes and Student Experiences?Collaboration and communication are two critical 21st century skills necessary to build a globaland innovative national workforce—both of which are found in effective teamwork. The value ofteamwork skills has been previously addressed in the research on first-year engineeringprograms. Unfortunately, most of the research has been done with relatively restrictedpopulations over a single engineering discipline and with a focus on the methods of teamformation and skills acquisition in teams.For example, various conference papers written on engineering team formation techniquesindicate that many instructors use a previously-developed cognitive styles tool to form teams intheir courses, such as Myers-Briggs, Six Thinking Hats, or a combination of others. The Myers-Briggs (MBTI) tool gives the student an indicator of their personality, while the modified SixHats tool offers a specific communication style for the students. Multiple sources believe that forbest results, a team should be formed by using both MBTI and Six Hats surveys to diversify teampersonalities.Interestingly, many of the papers do not report the amount of training, if any, in team dynamicsthat is offered to the students throughout their team experience. The literature suggests thatteaching students how to work in teams rather than trying to form perfect teams can providemore lasting benefits to students— preparing them for the real world where employers might nothave the resources to create perfect teams. Reasonable outcomes of effective teamwork trainingin first-year engineering undergraduate courses might include the practice of team conflictresolution in multiple settings, lasting relationships with other students, and increasedcommunication skills with diverse individuals.This research paper focuses on the analysis of multiple semesters of a multi-disciplinary, first-year engineering design projects course at a large public university that engages ~42% of thefirst-year students each year and is based on teamwork and product design. Data from this coursehas been collected for the past few years on team formation strategies, team size anddemographics, amount of instruction in team dynamics, individual confidence skills, individualidentity with engineering, and quality of final team project with the intent to inform courseevolution, and this paper aims at discovering if there is value in training students on how teamswork and how individuals may effectively work in teams. Using multiple methods informed bycurrent education research, we compare whether or not any type of team dynamics and formationinstruction were given to students to other factors, including final attitudes and final projectprogress and quality. This analysis will also consider satisfaction of team experience as revealedin several small focus groups. Finally, suggestions will be made on the optimal amount of classtime to spend teaching students how to effectively work in teams.Selected ReferencesBailey, R. (2002). Effectively Using Quantitative Indices of Conative Ability to Guide Teams. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Montreal.Bannerot, R. (2005). Characteristics of Good Teams. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Portland, OR.Bielefeldt, A. (2009). Cognitive Diversity and the Performance of Freshman Engineering Teams. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Austin, TX.Feland, J. M. (2002). Building Teammates : Bringing Better Team Skills to Design Courses. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Montreal.Jensen, D., Feland, J., Bowe, M., & Self, B. (2000). A 6-Hats Based Team Formation Strategy : Development and Comparison with an MBTI Based Approach. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. St. Louis, MO.Laguette, S. (2010). Development of High Performance Capstone Project Teams and the Selection Process. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Vancouver BC, Canada.Rojas-Oviedo, R., Deng, Z. T., Mobasher, A., & Jalloh, A. (2000). Development of Engineering Competencies in Freshman Courses. Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. St. Louis, MO.Talley, A., Wood, K., & Crawford, R. (2010). Designing and Teaching Interdisciplinary Curriculum : Proceedings in Annual Conference of the American Society for Engineering Education. Vancouver BC, Canada.

Zarske, M. S., & Yowell, J. L., & Maierhofer, S., & Reamon, D. T. (2013, June), Teamwork in First-Year Engineering Projects Courses: Does Training Students in Team Dynamics Improve Course Outcomes and Student Experiences? Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22544

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