Issues in organisation and management of multidisciplinary group design projects

Year: 2013
Editor: John Lawlor, Ger Reilly, Robert Simpson, Michael Ring, Ahmed Kovacevic, Mark McGrath, William Ion, David Tormey, Erik Bohemia, Chris McMahon, Brian Parkinson
Author: Keating, Ken; Brougham, Claire; Gavin, Graham; Reilly, Ger
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland
Section: Projects
Page(s): 302-307
ISBN: 978-1-904670-42-1


In education project teams that reflect organisational concepts considered normal in industrial design teams have a range of benefits for learning and graduate employability. They present a range of issues in terms of management of individual and group expectations. This paper focuses primarily on the issues of expectation and perceived performance as they manifest themselves through self-assessment. It interprets student perception and expectations of their individual and group performance, along with the experiences of their tutors in the management of a capstone group design project in the graduating year on the BSc in Medical Device Innovation at the Dublin Institute of Technology. In summary we found fewer issues in traditional problem areas such as student motivation, initiative, quality of individual work, and more issues related to interpersonal relationships, personal expectations in groupwork, group dynamics, group management/decision making and the pacing of the group project against a characteristic time schedule. We also found students had a tendency to assess and score their individual contribution higher than their peers, and their tutors, and to collectively assess their collaborative outputs higher than the sum of their individual contributions. This paper makes the case for transparent assessment of the learning process, the design process and the design product.

Keywords: Multidisciplinary group projects, collaborative learning, biomedical device design


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