Wed. June 17, 2015 8:45 AM to 10:15 AM
It is widely recognized that collaborative learning (i.e., group work) benefits student learning by creating an educational environment in which students achieve higher grades, learn at a deeper level, and retain information longer. However, group work is fraught with challenges for students who are inexperienced in managing interpersonal interactions and for faculty who sometimes struggle to guide student teams in achieving successful interactions and learning outcomes. One important challenge centers on the interactions between students from groups negatively stereotyped as poor performers in engineering (e.g., women and underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities) and others. A body of research in psychology indicates that students from these marginalized groups may have qualitatively different group work experiences compared to others, which may contribute to their underrepresentation in engineering. Recent research suggests that the negative experiences of people from marginalized groups on engineering student design teams can influence many factors that contribute to persistence and success, such as development of self-efficacy, sense of belonging, identification and identity integration. Often, negative experiences are the result of subtle bias or schemas that students bring with them into their teams, and occur despite the employment of best practices in team formation.
However, faculty management and institutional factors can play a key role in how underrepresented students experience their teamwork environment. This panel brings together researchers in the fields of stereotype threat, engineering design, teamwork, motivation, race, gender and intersectionality to unveil a variety of mechanisms that contribute to the student experience on design teams and to explore opportunities for faculty and administrators to improve the educational experience for all students.