Exploring Student Perceptions of Teamwork in a Summer Outreach Program
Increasing numbers of summer outreach programs aim to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A common approach to these programs is project-based learning (PBL), which often involves working in teams. Ideally, students participating in these programs work together in teams to apply the STEM knowledge gained from their program experiences; these intentional communication and collaboration experiences are also likely to enhance students’ teamwork skills. However, team experiences are not always positive, and some team members may not feel welcome to contribute. Team experiences can negatively affect students’ sense of belonging and their motivation to continue pursuing STEM. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to examine team experiences based on gender, which previous research suggest may impact a student’s experience. To address this purpose, we utilize survey data from the summer of 2018 to investigate the perceptions of the students who participated in SEEK (or Summer Engineering Experience for Kids), a summer outreach program offered by the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). Results will advance understanding of teaming experiences in STEM outreach contexts, enabling educators to improve these experiences for everyone.
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