EER Seminar (Robin Fowler) and Social: 1/22/20
Robin Fowler - Technical Communication, University of Michigan
TITLE: There are many "I"s in TEAM: Considering individual experiences in team-based pedagogy

Team-based pedagogies are pervasive in higher education, especially in engineering. Some instructors choose group work for logistical reasons, such as “we only have five testbeds.” Others seek to provide a particular student experience: students can teach and learn from each other, they can undertake more complicated projects, and they can develop collaboration skills that will benefit them later in their careers. Whatever the reason for using team-based pedagogies, instructors must be cognizant of team dysfunctions – some of which are invisible to the instructors or even to members of the team – that can affect certain students’ experiences in our classes.

In this talk, I will (1) present evidence that particular groups are more likely to have negative team experiences (and that teamwork is inherently gendered and raced), (2) suggest mechanisms for identifying and remedying some team dysfunctions, and (3) argue that instructors have a moral obligation to critically examine teamwork practices in an attempt to equitably serve our diverse student population. 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Dr. Robin Fowler is a Lecturer in the Program in Technical Communication and an Assistant Research Scientist in Engineering Education Research. She loves serving as a “coach” to engineering students as they communicate their ideas to a range of stakeholders. She studies teamwork and team-based pedagogy, with a focus on inter-team communication and equity. She is one of the Faculty Innovators behind Tandem, a Center of Academic Innovation tool for supporting students working in teams.
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