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Towards a Multidisciplinary Teamwork Training Series for Undergraduate Engineering Students: Development and Assessment of Two First-year Workshops

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Teamwork

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

DOI

10.18260/p.27065

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27065

Download Count

104

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Paper Authors

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Ada Hurst University of Waterloo

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Ada Hurst is a Lecturer in the Department of Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo. She has taught and coordinated the capstone design project course for the Management Engineering program since 2011. She also teaches courses in organizational theory, technology, and behaviour. She received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical Engineering and Master of Applied Science and PhD in Management Sciences, all from the University of Waterloo. Ada’s research and teaching interests include decision making under uncertainty, subjective probability, expert vs. novice review in engineering design, team processes, gender issues in STEM disciplines, and experiential and online learning.

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Erin Jobidon University of Waterloo

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Academic Development Specialist

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Andrea Prier University of Waterloo

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Taghi Khaniyev University of Waterloo

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He acquired his BS degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Middle East Technical University and MS degree from Bogazici University. He is currently enrolled in PhD program at University of Waterloo, Management Sciences. His main research interests are data analytics, large scale optimization and stochastic models. He organized and delivered training sessions at a number of international events related to leadership and teamwork.

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Christopher Rennick University of Waterloo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1682-3311

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Mr. Christopher Rennick received his B.A.Sc., Honours Electrical Engineering in 2007, and his M.A.Sc. in Electrical Engineering in 2009, both from the University of Windsor, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Since 2010, he has been employed with the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada as teaching staff in First Year Engineering.

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Rania Al-Hammoud P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Rania Al-Hammoud is a Faculty lecturer (Graduate Attributes) at the University of Waterloo since June 2015. Dr. Al-Hammoud holds a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the American University of Beirut, a MASc and a PhD degree also in civil engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada. She worked as a field engineer with HILTI for five years working on several industrial and commercial projects. She worked as an Assistant Professor at University of Minnesota Duluth from January 2014 until May 2015 and as a lecturer at the University of Waterloo from Fall 2010 to Fall 2013 and has taught ten different civil engineering courses. This is when she experienced her passion to research in teaching and started developing papers in this area.

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Carol Hulls P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Carol Hulls, P.Eng. is a Continuing Lecturer in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo. She has been teaching courses in programming and digital logic since 1999. Always looking to improve classroom learning, she has tried a variety of techniques including Tablet teaching, flipped classrooms, and experiential learning. She received her BASc, MASc, and PhD from the University of Waterloo in Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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Jason Andrew Grove The University of Waterloo

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Jason Grove is the Graduate Attributes Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is responsible for leading the continuous program assessment improvement process for the chemical and nanotechnology engineering programs. He is also heavily involved in the development of Waterloo Engineering’s IDEAS Clinic initiative.

Dr. Grove obtained his PhD from the University of Waterloo investigating the microbial community ecology in biofilters used for air pollution control. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford.

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Samar Mohamed University of Waterloo

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Dr. Mohamed received her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2006. She has always been passionate about teaching and learning specifically in Engineering. Samar is the Centre for Teaching Excellence liaison at the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Waterloo. She has been working with the Faculty of Engineering instructors for more than six years on their various teaching needs.

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Stephanie Joan Johnson M.Ed University of Waterloo

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Stephanie Johnson is an academic development specialist. She designs and facilitates workshops, programs and lectures to help students achieve academic success at the post-secondary level. She also works with students one-on-one in all disciplines.

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Sanjeev Bedi P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Sanjeev Bedi is the Director of the Engineering Ideas Clinic. He earned his PhD from the University of Victoria in 1987. As a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo, his research focus is machining, and he is well known for developing innovative 5-axis tool-positioning and flank-milling techniques.

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Abstract

Teams have become the default work structure in organizations; thus, in work settings that emphasize teamwork, employees must have knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to communicate and coordinate with their colleagues. Yet, teamwork skills are rarely “taught” in engineering curricula; in fact, compared to business representatives, university educators have been found to underestimate the value of teamwork KSAs. Instead, students are expected to develop teamwork and leadership skills via a sink-or-swim approach where they are assigned group work and left to perform as they can. Often, these poor teamwork experiences combined with the lack of training and opportunities for guided reflection lead to students disliking working in groups, impacting not just the cognitive but also the affective domain of learning. In response to this identified weakness, a committee of representatives from the Faculty of Engineering and other support units at the University of Waterloo is developing a series of six workshops intended to be delivered to engineering students in all disciplines in their first three years of study. The first three workshops will provide an introduction to team-forming and building, team communication, and conflict management. The last three workshops will provide reinforcement and opportunities for application in the same areas and in multidisciplinary settings. This paper describes the first two workshops in this series. Their design is based on the principle that teamwork skills are best learned by doing, i.e., by practicing in a context that approximates common team experiences in engineering. In the first workshop, students work in groups to construct a tower out of straws and connectors under different performance objectives and where conflict situations are intentionally created. In the second workshop, students are assigned different team roles and challenged to build a simple LEGO structure under different conditions of verbal and written communication channel effectiveness. The combined learning outcomes of the first two workshops are understanding the characteristics of effective teams, developing strategies for effective teamwork, building active listening skills, and asking effective questions. As the workshops are developed and implemented, ongoing assessment of their effectiveness in improving students’ teamwork-related KSAs is focused on the workshops’ impact on (1) students’ knowledge of generic teamwork competencies (or “declarative” knowledge), and, (2) transfer of that knowledge to a new performance environment. This paper reports on the results of student self-appraisal surveys/quizzes and provides an overall evaluation of the current and potential future impact of the workshop series. The stand-alone nature of this series of workshops makes it highly adaptable not only for other engineering schools, but also for non-engineering programs that may identify the need for teamwork instruction and assessment in their curricula.

Hurst, A., & Jobidon, E., & Prier, A., & Khaniyev, T., & Rennick, C., & Al-Hammoud, R., & Hulls, C., & Grove, J. A., & Mohamed, S., & Johnson, S. J., & Bedi, S. (2016, June), Towards a Multidisciplinary Teamwork Training Series for Undergraduate Engineering Students: Development and Assessment of Two First-year Workshops Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27065

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