Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Tretter, Thomas

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Philipp, Stephanie

Committee Member

Philipp, Stephanie

Committee Member

Ralston, Patricia

Committee Member

McFadden, Justin

Committee Member

Mark, Sheron

Author's Keywords

teamwork; engineering practice; team effectiveness; makerspace learning; team-based learning; engineering education


The ability to work on teams is of critical importance to the field of engineering and a critical competency for future engineers. Fostering performance of effective teamwork through the education of engineers emphasizes the humanistic dimension of the engineering profession and engages future engineering professionals in complex and dynamic team experiences. Team performance and effectiveness of student teams is strongly influenced by individual student perceptions of teamwork as a learning mechanism for successful collective learning experiences. Initial perceptions of teamwork among first year engineering students are often negative due to prior adverse or unproductive team performance. Makerspace learning environments are becoming more prominent in engineering education as promising environments for open-ended, team-based learning experiences that promote positive perceptions of teamwork and performance. The educational potential that makerspaces have to promote engineering design-thinking among the community of teams has great appeal among engineering education. This study explored the engineering performance and student teamwork perceptions of a cohort of first year engineering students (N=488, 126 teams) engaged in a team-based learning experience within a makerspace learning environment. The mixed methods convergent case study design examined teams within and across cases to extract systematic patterns within and across the three constructs of this study: 1) team effectiveness, 2) engineering practice, and 3) teamwork perceptions. Using a 3-phase analysis approach teams were found to be effective in their ability to perform and a relationship emerged between the effectiveness of a team and the team’s collective efficacy. Student perceptions were found to shift over time and through experience. The team-based learning experience implemented through the course was valuable to improving student perceptions of teamwork by 1) ensuring multidisciplinary teams, 2) gradually releasing teams to perform complex, ill-structured problem solving, and 3) using the resources and space within the makerspace to encourage teams to creatively solve the design problem. More research is needed to investigate the inner dynamics of the teams, particularly how well makerspace learning environments engage diverse individuals and what differences exist among experiences.