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ENE Faculty candidate seminar

Event Date: February 21, 2008
Speaker: Şenay Yaşar Purzer
Speaker Affiliation: Arizona State University
Time: 3:30-4:30
Location: Phys 338
Contact Name: Alice Pawley
Contact Phone: 6-1209
Contact Email:
Open To: ENE faculty, staff and students
Discourse in Engineering Teams: The Relationship between Verbal Persuasions, Self-Efficacy and Achievement

Teamwork is a common practice in engineering. Likewise, engaging students to work in collaborative teams to solve design problems is becoming a common practice in engineering schools. This study, using a mixed-methods approach, is designed to identify the team discourse characteristics that are correlated with student self-efficacy and achievement. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory is used for theoretical support. Seven teams, consisting of first-year engineering students, took the pre and post surveys and were video and audio-recorded during a semester-long introduction to engineering design course. Three instruments are developed: self-efficacy survey, team discourse analysis coding protocol, and team support evaluation survey. The validity and reliability of these instruments are established. Thirty-five discourse moves are defined through an iterative process of code development and refinement. These moves are grouped under six discourse categories: task-oriented, response-oriented, learning-oriented, support-oriented, challenge-oriented, and disruptive. The results show that achievement and post self-efficacy are significantly correlated. There is a positive correlation between support-orientated discourse and post self-efficacy scores. Negative correlations are observed between disruptive discourse behaviors and post self-efficacy scores. Neither being challenged by peers nor receiving negative feedback revealed significant correlations with student self-efficacy. In addition, no correlations between the team discourse characteristics and achievement are found. These findings suggest that while positive team discourse can support self-efficacy, the effect of such behaviors on student achievement is indirect. Discussion includes recommendations for engineering educators on how to help teams build supportive environments and what to look for when evaluating student team communication. 

Şenay Yaşar Purzer is a Ph.D. candidate in Science Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Arizona State University (ASU). She currently works as a graduate research associate in the Communication in Science Inquiry Project, an NSF-funded teacher professional development program. In 2002, she earned her master’s degree in Science Education at ASU. She has a BS degree in Physics Education and is currently pursuing another B.S.E degree with a concentration in mechanical systems. She has taught elementary science methods courses for undergraduate students and worked as an engineering assessment research analyst. In 2007, she received the Dean’s Excellence award in graduate research from the Mary Lou Fulton School of Education. Her creative research focuses on collaborative learning and the role of self-efficacy on student achievement. She has publications on instrument development and has conducted verbal protocol analysis research on team design processes of engineering students. Her professional service includes reviewing manuscripts for various science education journals and engineering education conferences. She enjoys interdisciplinary and international collaborations and is dedicated to exploring how people learn engineering and developing research-based tools and strategies to support student learning.