Improving Effectiveness of Research in the Classroom Through Teamwork


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Title: Improving Effectiveness of Research in the Classroom Through Teamwork

Author(s): D. C. Jansen

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 206


Appears on pages(s): 537-546

Keywords: cooperative learning, education, teaching, teamwork

Date: 4/1/2002

In most curricula, students have numerous opportunities to work as part of a team, but they are seldom instructed on how to function as part of a team, a valuable skill in the corporate environment. As part of a larger initiative to develop five fundamental skills, Tufts University's School of Engineering has implemented a program to introduce teamwork skills to all engineering students. This program is designed to develop good habits for functioning as part of a team. In context of the work being presented, the team working skills were introduced into a sophomore level civil entgineering materials course (including concrete, of course!). Students were given two lectures followed by laboratory exercises to emphasize the teamwork concept of defining and working towards a common goal and not being so driven by the task. The students then practiced their skills throughout the course by functioning as teams in all their laboratory exercises and report writing. Through roper functioning teams, cooperative learning is promoted, and students learn the material beeter and more efficiently. Team performances were periodically assessed. Overviews of the School of Engineering's five fundamental skills program and teamwork initiative are presented. Outcomes from the teamwork program incorporated into the civil engineering materials course were assessed at several stages uring the class and are reported.