Strategies for promoting cultural diversity within student laboratory groups in an engineering degree course at an Australian university
Context: Engineering graduates (Stage 1 Professional Engineers) must be able to demonstrate effective team membership and team leadership. Australasian engineering degrees include this competency as a course learning outcome. Students work in small groups in laboratory sessions, design classes or for oral presentations to gain this competency. Students tend to form groups with little cultural diversity if allowed to self-select. Mandating cultural diversity within groups is resisted by domestic students. A further issue is individual assessment within groups.
Purpose: What strategies are effective in promoting cultural diversity within groups of engineering students?
Approach: Ethics approval will be sought to conduct semi-structured interviews with a culturally diverse selection of students and teaching staff. Qualitative data will be analysed (with NVIVO) on students' and staff experience with group work.
Results: Analysis of the structured interviews is expected to provide an insight into the factors limiting the effectiveness of group-work to deliver the required team-work competencies. Acceptable methods for group formation and individual assessment within groups may emerge. Strategies which assure harmony within culturally diverse groups will be sought. These strategies will be presented to a workshop at AAEE2018.
Conclusions: The structured interview results, together with the literature review, will inform further research leading to the identification of effective strategies to promote cultural diversity within groups.
Publication titleProceedings of the 29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference (AAEE 2018)
Department/SchoolSchool of Engineering
Place of publicationNew Zealand
Event title29th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference (AAEE 2018)
Event VenueHamilton, New Zealand
Date of Event (Start Date)2018-12-09
Date of Event (End Date)2018-12-12
Rights statementCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License