The team experiences of students in a first-year engineering course were examined. Lecture material discussing emotional intelligence was presented to the students as part of the course materials used to assist them through their team experiences, and students completed design projects in inter-disciplinary teams as part of the laboratory portion of this course. This introduction to engineering design course focuses on teaching students the fundamentals of solving open-ended design problems in teams, while learning more about the engineering profession and report writing, in both a lecture and a lab. The design projects are completed in an in-person laboratory environment that allowed teams to work on their project of choice based on multiple project options ranging from designing a miniature solar car to creating a cell phone application. Student team experiences were evaluated using a series of questions and a collection of student comments. Nine questions received responses from 432 students in the course.
The discussion of emotional intelligence was based on students examining their ability to evaluate their emotions, and the emotions of others, while working in these project-based teams. Students reflected on the lecture discussion of emotional intelligence and how it may have assisted in reflecting on their own emotional intelligence, and the emotional intelligence of others, and whether it improved their team interactions. In addition, students also reflected on their passion for the engineering field, and provided suggestions for improving the team experiences in the course. Overall, students found the emotional intelligence discussion to assist them in their team experiences in this first-year engineering course.
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