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Use Of Assessment Survey To Assign Project Teams And Roles

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Capstone Design I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1526.1 - 12.1526.8



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Paper Authors

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Promiti Dutta Columbia University

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Alexander Haubold Columbia University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Use of Assessment Survey to Assign Project Teams and Roles Abstract:

Effective assignment of teams and distribution of tasks within a group is an arduous task. Successful teams display harmony, successfully completed projects, and effective skill utilization of all members. Weak teams demonstrate ineffective dynamics, poorly completed projects, and underutilized team members. We propose a method to assign team members and to delegate members with equally weighted tasks using assessment surveys.

Our method is applied in a first-year project-based engineering design course with approximately 180 students each semester since Spring 2003. The course is divided into 4 sections each consisting of at most 45 students per section. Each student is assigned to a team consisting of at most five students working on an engineering design project with a community partner. The use of community partners requires students to develop professional skills such as verbal and nonverbal communication as well as technical engineering design principles.

We propose the use of pre-course assessments to determine students’ skill sets in technical, professional, and managerial roles. We also account for diverse students’ background and interest levels in certain fields. The evaluation of these surveys results in the assignment of teams with each student possessing unique traits and characteristics to aid the team in the completion of the assigned project. We discuss the method of evaluating such result to properly assign teams in this paper.

We assign team members to five different roles based on survey results: (1) primary facilitator, (2) secondary facilitator, (3) process observer, (4) timekeeper, and (5) conflict manager. The primary and secondary facilitators are students that possess the most experience in professional and managerial roles. These individuals are required to oversee team progress and maintain clear communication with the community partner and course instructors about project status. The process observer role is for an individual with strong nonverbal professional communication skills. The student is responsible for composing all written project status reports and final project report for the community partner and course instructors. The timekeeper and conflict manager roles are useful in ensuring that the team remain focused throughout the course of the project. They are also delegated to students with stronger technical skills. These students focus on meeting the technical requirements required by the project. The hierarchal structure in role assignment facilitates maintaining harmony amongst team members.

At the end of every semester, students are required to submit a personal reflection discussing his or her team working experience in addition to rating their fellow peers. Students on teams with good team dynamics indicate a level of satisfaction with respect to their completed projects and group, while the converse is true for students on teams with poor team dynamics. Community partners and course instructors also evaluate the teams’ effectiveness as a group. Our results indicate a direct correlation between team harmony and quality of project from a pedagogic view. Methods to facilitate evaluation of pre-course assessment surveys are underway.

Dutta, P., & Haubold, A. (2007, June), Use Of Assessment Survey To Assign Project Teams And Roles Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2426

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