Enhancement of Teamwork using an Extended Laboratory Project

Iyer, R. Mahalinga (2006) Enhancement of Teamwork using an Extended Laboratory Project. In 17th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education, 10-13 December 2006, Auckland, New Zealand.


Main emphasis of engineering education in the pre 80’s had been in the science and engineering fundamentals with problem solving capability. Any acquisition of softer skills such as team work, communications skills were incidental. However, after a comprehensive review and the publication of "Change the Culture: Engineering Education into the Future", the accreditation requirement of Engineers Australia (EA) has placed emphasis on not only the technical skills but also on the softer skills. Since then, most engineering schools in Australia have incorporated the development of softer skills as part of the engineering curriculum. Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is no exception and has committed to the integration of softer skills into the overall graduate capabilities. QUT has listed seven graduate capabilities to be incorporated in every course (Bachelor of Engineering). Communication and collaborative working are among these seven capabilities.

One of the EA accredited courses within Engineering at QUT is Infomechatronics which integrates mechanical, electrical and information technology areas. One of the units that include communication skills and teamwork as part of the content is Mechatronics Systems Design. This unit uses an extended laboratory as a means to facilitate teamwork and communication skills. An extended laboratory is where the students as a team will spend about 5 to 6 weeks to complete the nominated task. To enhance these softer skills the students use a web based facility called ‘TeamWorker’ developed at QUT. This paper describes the extended laboratory project and how it is being used for the enhancement of the communication and teamwork skills through TeamWorker. Results of students’ activities within the Teamworker as well as students’ response to the unit as a whole and in particular team skills over the past three years indicate that the students have become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in working in teams. Some qualitative evidence from 2006 cohort of students is also presented.

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ID Code: 5909
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: HERN, extended laboratory, Teamworker, Teamwork, graduate capabilities
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING (090600) > Control Systems Robotics and Automation (090602)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 02 Jan 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2016 02:06

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