Pre-defined Roles and Team Performance for First Year Students

Jess W Everett, Kaitlin Mallouk, Jenahvive Morgan


A framework for managing and guiding student teams in a first-year engineering course is compared to less structured but commonly used methods. In the new framework, students take on rotating roles during laboratory projects throughout the semester. Furthermore, teams submit three versions of each report: rough draft, draft, and final. Finally, students complete peer evaluation on-line. On-line student and faculty surveys and multiple focus groups were used to evaluate the framework, which was employed in 3 sections of a 16 section first-year engineering course. Results indicate that, compared to the other common team scenarios, the framework results in improvements in students’ self-appraisal of their teaming abilities at the end of the semester, students writing a greater variety of laboratory report sections, student teams more quickly entering the “performing” stage of the team adjustment phases, and more students taking on a leadership role at least once during the semester. The framework produced no reduction in free riders or increase in laboratory report quality, at least as reported by students. 


Teamwork; Designated roles; First-year; multidisciplinary

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