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Work in Progress: Promoting Equitable Team Dynamics in an Introductory Biomedical Engineering Course

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Biomedical Engineering Postcard Session (Best of Works in Progress)

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Jennifer H. Choi University of California, Davis

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Jennifer Choi is currently an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UC Davis. In addition to teaching core undergraduate courses, Jennifer is aimed at integrating engineering design principles and hands-on experiences throughout the curriculum, and playing an active role in the senior design course. She has interests in engineering education, curricular innovation, as well as impacting the community through increased K-12 STEM awareness and education. Prior to joining UC Davis, Jennifer taught in the BME Department at Rutgers University, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Advanced Technologies and Regenerative Medicine, LLC. She received her doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University, M.S. degree from Syracuse University, and B.S. degree from Cornell University.

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Team-based projects are widely utilized in the engineering curriculum, and often used in introductory engineering design courses. Creating the conditions however, to promote effective participation from all students in a team is certainly a challenge many instructors may face. This challenge often lies in the complexity of group dynamics and untaught skills that are necessary to function effectively on a team. Instructors may recognize the value of teaching process skills to students, however many may not feel qualified to teach these skills, or may even feel uncomfortable with coaching teams through their conflicts.

Traditional mechanisms for promoting effective team process skills include strategies such as assigning team roles, developing team contracts and organizing project timelines. While these practices do have value, they often focus on an equality-based structure, ensuring that each student on the team contributes equally. This works in progress will explore the application of a strategy to integrate and support equity-based team dynamics in an introductory biomedical engineering course. Asset mapping (Stoddard and Pfeifer, 2018) is an approach that enables each team member to communicate their assets, strengths and experiences with the group before the first group task is assigned. Following a discussion around each team member’s assets, the group can then make informed decisions around who will do what based on a team member’s assets/strengths, or desire to grow in a particular asset.

Individual asset maps, team-based asset charts, and asset-based cover sheets have been incorporated into our introductory biomedical engineering course, in which students are engaging in a 10 week team-based design project. Each student generated an individual asset map at the start of the course. Once teams were randomly formed, each team member shared their asset map with their teammates. Collectively, teams then produced team-based asset charts that depicted delegated work based on a team member’s assets and/or desire to grow in a particular asset. For each team assignment, teams will be required to submit an asset-based cover sheet, outlining each team member’s contribution. Student teams will have the opportunity to evaluate their peers two times during the project using the CATME peer evaluation tool. Additionally, a survey will be administered to gain preliminary feedback on team dynamics and perceived effectiveness of the asset mapping approach.

Choi, J. H. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Promoting Equitable Team Dynamics in an Introductory Biomedical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--38191

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