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Keywords:

  • design engineering;
  • engineering ethics;
  • gender relations;
  • teamwork

Abstract

Not all student teams are created equal. Some manage to produce excellent engineering results, others fabricate it. Social interactions in some teams are respectful, while on other teams some members expect others to carry the load, but take credit for it later. With engineering teamwork becoming more prevalent on engineering campuses, knowing more about student design teams that work is especially important. This article uses two teamwork cases from a large-scale ethnographic study of an engineering design program to describe not only the ways that student engineers practiced design teamwork, but also how campus culture reached into social interactions between teammates via engineering identities produced on campus. A model for effective teamwork emerged that implies producing high quality engineering products, and doing so through respectful social interactions. Implications for teaching about teamwork, teaching with teams, and thinking about ways to change campus cultures to better promote design engineering are developed.