Impact of student selection of design projects on team performance

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Abstract

In the capstone design courses, the instructor can choose among different strategies of assigning students to project teams. One of these strategies allows the students select the project they would like to work on from a list. This sometimes proceeds in an ad-hoc manner. Currently, literature offers limited research that looks at the reasons why students select certain projects. Furthermore, the work examining the impact of this selection on team performance is also limited. The objective of this study is to examine the impact of the students' project selection on team performance. This is carried out by (1) investigating the rationalization students undertake during the selection process, and (2) analyzing data concerning the influence of the selection on team performance. Two instruments are presented in this paper that can be used to analyze the impact of student selection of design projects on the team performance. These instruments are also used to track the types of projects the students select, such as faculty projects, industry supported projects, student initiated projects, and projects for design competitions. A systematic methodology, based on the students' rankings of all the projects for assigning students to their preferred choice of projects, is also presented. Whereas the data presented shows that students generally read carefully the project description, the majority of students prefer the project clients to make short presentations. To analyze the impact of project choice on team performance, four categories, based on the student project choice, were proposed. Teams whose majority did not get their first choice of project, showed the largest drop between the mid-semester peer ratings compared to end-of-semester peer ratings. This study was performed at two universities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2007
Event114th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2007 - Honolulu, HI, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2007Jun 27 2007

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