July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
In this paper, we describe a module deployed in a project-based, first-year engineering course to cultivate virtuous student teamwork. The course comprised two six-week projects, and the module intervention began between the end of the first project and the beginning of the second project. The module design was based on defining virtue, defining teamwork as a virtue with three elements, and implementing strategies from an empirically-grounded framework to develop students as virtuous team workers. Strategies included (1) dialogue to increase virtue literacy, (2) reflection on personal experience, (3) awareness of situational variables and bias, (4) moral reminders to make norms salient, and (5) habituation through practice. As part of the intervention, students identified attributes of an ideal team member, mapped them to the three elements of virtuous teamwork, and, as a group, identified the 15 most important attributes from the list. Of those 15 attributes, students identified which attributes they perceived that they and their teammates embodied during Project 1 and provided tangible examples. Students then chose an attribute they would commit to developing during Project 2 and tangible actions they would practice during Project 2; the attribute had to be one that their teammates did not perceive them as embodying during Project 1. At the end of Project 2, students completed a similar exercise in self- and peer-perceived attribute embodiment. The perceived attribute list was compared to the list generated before Project 2 and discussed in class. Finally, students wrote personal reflections about their experiences and growth throughout the module.
Teamwork-relevant outcomes were assessed using three psychometric approaches: self-report, other- (informant-) report, and demonstrated behavior. Students reported perceived team effectiveness for themselves and for each of their teammates at multiple time points. Teamwork relevant behavior was also assessed via text analysis by employing The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software program to identify teamwork-relevant language in targeted assignments. The most commonly perceived attributes at the beginning of the intervention included responsible, collaborative, kind, and good listener. During Project 2, most students chose to develop creativity, understanding of teammates different skills, being a good facilitator, and having patience. Most students were perceived to embody the attribute they chose to develop during Project 2 and those who were not rationalized this result through discussion and reflection. Through observing students engaging in the module, we realized that other character virtues support completing the activities and enacting virtuous teamwork, demonstrating the interconnectedness of virtues. For example, students needed courage to provide and receive feedback from their peers; honesty to supply feedback and engage in dialogue, particularly in discussions of situational variables and biases in self- and peer-perceptions; compassion to offer feedback in a way that benefits others; and humility to grow and learn from the activity. Finally, most students chose to develop a virtue—creativity—during Project 2. This paper shows that teamwork—a common concept in engineering education—is better taught through a virtue framework that recognizes the way virtuous teamwork depends on other virtues.
Gross, M. D., & Wiinikka-Lydon, J., & Lamb, M., & Pierrakos, O., & Yeaman, A. (2021, July), The Virtues of Teamwork: A Course Module to Cultivate the Virtuous Team Worker Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37905
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