Development of a Tool for Team Formation in Engineering Education
Efficient team formation presents challenges both for the industry and the academia, especially among first year students. In academia, the difficulty is due to a lack of familiarity between instructors and new students at the beginning of each semester while in the industry, the issue is the incomplete picture of new employee’s personality by the supervisors. The quality of the team greatly affects both the team member experience as well as the outcome of assigned projects. There is a strong need to create a tool or a program that allows instructors and supervisors to create effective teams with evenly distributed skills amongst the teams in a timely fashion. Studies show that the balance of skills, rather than the presence of highly skilled individuals, leads to successful teams. The ultimate goal is to create a tool that will give teams the opportunity to operate at their maximum potential. This paper focuses on the creation of teams for first year students of engineering. The outcome is based on the results of a project assigned to a team of second year engineering students. The choice of second year students was dictated by the need to have students who had already experienced the adverse effects of malfunctioning teams during their previous projects. The goal of the project was to design a software and user interface for a tool that instructors could use to create optimal project teams in an efficient manner.