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Performance of students’ choice team versus teacher/facilitator’s created team in project-based learning (PBL) units
The university lecturers focus on improving teaching practices and enhancing student learning in different teaching approaches. They identified a few approaches in teaching: content-oriented/teacher-centered, learning-oriented/student-centered to student-teacher and student-student interaction. In the twentieth century there were several movements to introduce a team based method, called the student centred approach, in schools and universities employing and completing several student projects by forming good teams in some units. In traditional teaching approaches, students could develop factual knowledge and problem solving skills in routine set problems, not the skills in solving open ended problems. The project based learning (PBL) methods focus on student skills on research and reasoning skills, team building and time management skills in multi-disciplinary projects along with content based learning. Therefore, both pedagogies focusing on content based learning and PBL are essential in parallel to provide a quality student engineering education. There are a few team building methods to complete student projects. It can be done on a random basis, on student choice or student can form their teams employing university learning management systems (LMSs). The purpose of this paper is to explore the formation of good teams: student-student, student-teacher in final year student thesis units and other higher level PBL units. This paper is also focussing on how good teams lead to complete the set project tasks enhancing students learning in all areas required to become work ready engineer suitable for industries. It will be articulated to illustrate the points when a team leads to be a good team or not to be a good team. An important goal is to articulate proper interaction between student to student and student to facilitator, a basis of forming a good team, so as to ensure individual student learning relating to the units. Both randomly team formation or by the student choice were considered in the recent years. The aspects of student team formation by Moodle site (LMS) are considered and its influence on completing the projects is evaluated. A comparison of student responses on both the methods relating to student learning is compiled and evaluated to judge their effectiveness. Students’ feedback and satisfaction data articulate the best aspects team formation. Team formation by student choice is favoured by the students. There is an adverse effect of student project outcome and student learning if a good team is not formed. Forming good teams enhances student engagement, interaction and student learning for becoming practicing engineers in Australian context.