Team Problem Solving Strategies with a Survey of These Methods Used by Faculty Members in Engineering Technology

  • Michael L Marcus
  • Dixie L Winters


Students from science, engineering, and technology programs should be able to work together as members of project teams to find solutions to technical problems. The exercise in this paper describes the methods actually used by a project team from a Biomedical Instrumentation Corporation in which scientists, technicians, and engineers from various disciplines participated. Also described here is a teaching methodology for collaborative problem solving, which includes writing specifications, brainstorming, solution evaluation, sketching, and testing of solutions. In addition, results from the authors? survey on these methods from faculty members who belong to the American Society for Engineering Educators (ASEE), Engineering Technology Division (ETD), are inserted throughout the paper. While many of these techniques such as brainstorming are common to education majors, many engineering technology faculty have engineering degrees or technology degrees with industrial experience but have not taken any formal teaching methods courses. This survey attempts to find out how widely these techniques are utilized and where faculty received their training. Students worked together as members of project teams to find solutions to an actual electromechanical design problem using a hematology analyzer from industry. This method can be used in any number of technology and science courses and will help the student prepare for problem solving and working in a team environment.