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A practical approach for converting group assignments into team projects

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1 Author(s)
R. L. Pimmel ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Alabama Univ., Tuscaloosa, AL, USA

Engineering instructors frequently use group assignments to provide students experience in dealing with complex open-ended problems. Usually, they do not worry about training or maintaining teams, evaluating the effectiveness of the teams, or assessing the contribution of each individual. With the establishment of the ABET EC2000 criteria, ignoring these aspects becomes unacceptable. This report describes a practical method for converting a standard "group" assignment into a meaningful "team" learning experience and presents data showing the effectiveness of the approach. The approach requires some class time (less than two class periods in total) for training teams, for monitoring weekly progress, and for evaluating individual efforts. Also, it requires some additional instructor time (less than 15 h) for preparing instructional material on teaming, for assigning teams, and for preparing and evaluating student report forms on team progress and individual effort. Data from a senior-level courses show an improvement in the quality of the technical work, in the students' teaming skills, and in their attitude toward teaming that more than justify the class time and the extra instructor effort.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 2 )