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A Case Study in Assessing Team-Based Design Courses That Integrate Industry-Sponsored Projects

[+] Author Affiliations
M. Keefe, J. Glancey, N. Cloud

University of Delaware

Paper No. IMECE2005-81756, pp. 353-361; 9 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Innovations in Engineering Education: Mechanical Engineering Education, Mechanical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering Technology Department Heads
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Mechanical Engineering Education
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4232-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


In general, assessing the learning process is difficult because objective measures are not readily available, and the time needed to fully evaluate is considerable. This problem is perhaps exacerbated in team-based courses, where learning is unstructured in large part and the body of knowledge expected to be learned is variable. Additional issues that complicate assessment include cross-disciplinary teams, project variability and the involvement of external mentors including industrial sponsors, guest lecturers and consultants. Collaborative learning in a team setting is beneficial to improving undergraduate science and engineering courses; however, no specific assessment tool has been used to evaluate its validity. As a result, novel techniques need to be developed to assess the value of team-based learning. This paper describes the experiences and lessons learned in assessing student performance in team-based project courses culminating in a senior capstone experience that integrates industry-sponsored design projects. Analysis of assessment data collected over the last four years indicates that student performance, measured by faculty grades and industry sponsor evaluations, is not significantly affected by the faculty advisor, project type or sponsoring company size. This is attributed to the focus on assessing student performance in executing the design process, and less on project results. However, faculty assessments of student performance do not correlate very well with industry sponsor assessments.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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