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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


DALY, C.. An evaluation of the effectiveness of teamwork, with an emphasis on peer assessment and peer review, in an introductory engineering course. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.12, pp.969-978. ISSN 2411-9717.

The Faculty of Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) offers a core first-year engineering design and innovation course, ENGG1000, undertaken during the first and second semesters. This course is highly regarded in the sense that it provides an introduction to many concepts and activities that students will experience over the four-year minimum for which they are undergraduates at UNSW. Approximately 1400 students enrol in the semester 1 course across the Faculty, typically 80 of which undertake the Mining Engineering stream. Students in teams of between six and eight design and construct a physical model to represent an aspect of their chosen discipline. For example, in 2013 the mining engineers designed and built a model dragline. This paper concentrates a major aspect of the course - the involvement of team members in group activities and the development of the associated skills of peer assessment and peer review as the course progresses over a period of 12 weeks. The term 'peer assessment' in this paper refers to the requirement for students to assess the design components of their peers. This course has a structured requirement in terms of how a successful design is a result of a sound design process rather than a 'try and see' approach. Each student must describe in detail the process they undertook to achieve their final design - hence the approach is independent of the discipline and/or project selected. Peer review is a process whereby students review the contribution of their team members to the overall design. This activity encourages team involvement and interaction. The final assessment mark can be moderated by the outcome of this peer review, although it is run twice during the semester. The first 'run' is for feedback only during week six and hence no moderation is undertaken. It was found through consultation with students and from questionnaires that both processes are well accepted and highly regarded by students, as they give them a degree of ownership of the assessment process. In addition, the processes provide rapid and relevant feedback on the progress of individual students. Peer review and peer assessment are also considered to be very valuable tools for use in courses in succeeding years. For instance, many of the courses in mining engineering rely heavily on group assessment tasks

Keywords : teamwork; peer assessment; peer review; Moodle; engineering design; first year.

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