F8-TEAM3-4 - Investigating the Impact and Pedagogical Implications of Extraversion on Team Dynamics in Post-Secondary Student Teams

3. Research Full Paper
James Coller1 , Laura Alford1, Robin Fowler1
1 University of Michigan

This abstract will present a proposed full paper submission in the research category addressing insights obtained from an online team-based communication tool developed at a large research university in the United States which is initially in use for an introduction to engineering course as well as an introductory business course and a smaller graduate-level architecture studio course. This unique data set allows the authors to compare team-based courses across multiple disciplines at the same large research university and examine how team dynamics may differ between engineers and non-engineering students across a full semester with pre and post project surveys. 

Project-based learning on diverse teams is critical for the engineering students’ success in the global economy following their education. Engineering education pedagogies are constantly evolving to improve team dynamics. Further, research has shown that gendered behaviors are often exacerbated in various team settings based on the team composition.

The online team communication tool utilized includes pre, mid, and post-project surveys including peer and self-evaluations which were used to generate the data for this study. In this research, the authors examine patterns of self- and peer-report regarding preferences for speaking in groups, as well as downstream effects such as perceived voice safety and voice enactment (how easily one can communicate even an unpopular idea, and whether one’s ideas are combined into the group plan).  Additionally, the authors consider how identity characteristics, such as gender, affect these results and whether there are differences across the three contexts. 

Recent research has focused on marginalization on student teams, considering especially demographic groups and communication patterns. This research extends that work by investigating whether extraversion may serve as a protective factor. Additionally, by virtue of the large group using the survey tool, this research allows for a fairly large sample size (N > 700) of processes that have primarily been studied qualitatively. 

While the online team communication support tool was created to assist instructors in understanding the team dynamics in real-time, this body of research aims to support instructor’s understanding of how students choose to engage in team projects and how their voices are heard (or not) in such spaces. It is our hope that these results can inform pedagogical practices, to help prepare students for navigating groups beyond the academic setting.