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Assessing Individual Performance in Team Based Projects

Prof Sunniva Collins | Case Western Reserve University

Assessing Individual Performance in Team Based Projects

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Project-based learning is an important strategy in personalized learning. A well-designed project gives students the freedom to explore topics they find interesting. The use of the semester-long team-based project is a standard approach to teaching design in the engineering curriculum. A common complaint from students concerning team-based projects is that some team members are "sliding and hiding", leaving other team members with most of the work. Skill sets among team members can be mismatched, as some students are more mature or more technically adept than others. A poor team project experience can leave students concerned about fairness of assessments. With modifications to team formation and instruction early in the course on team behavior and dynamics, more successful outcomes can be achieved in the project experience. At Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH), the capstone course in the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum, Design for Manufacturing II, provides opportunities for project-based learning. The scope of the project and the size of the team allows students to develop areas of expertise based on their interests. This presentation will discuss data and observations from the last several offerings of the courses, and methods for fair assessment of student learning, personal development, and contributions to the team.