Published in 5th Annual First Year Engineering Experience Conference Proceedings: Pittsburgh, PA, August 8, 2013.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Steffen Peuker was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Team Based Learning (TBL) is a specific pedagogical tool that emphasizes collaborative learning. Oftentimes TBL is confused with group activities and other active learning strategies involving student teams. TBL is distinct because it follows a prescribed sequence of individual work and group work, and includes immediate feedback as well as peer evaluation. TBL is widely used in medical, pharmacy and nursing schools and the use of TBL in engineering education is growing. The advantages of using TBL in the class room include: (1) students are held accountable for individual (pre-class) and group (in-class) work. (2) The responsibility for learning shifts from the instructor to the students, promoting lifelong learning skills. (3) The majority of class time is used for team assignments that use the course content applied to large difficult problems. (4) The students are actively engaged during class time. Furthermore, TBL is suitable for courses having as little as 12 students, but is also used in courses having up to 400 students. Therefore, TBL is an ideal tool to be used in freshman engineering courses. Implementation of TBL in an Introduction to Engineering course at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the Fall of 2013 is in preparation. In spite of all the benefits of using TBL, a possible deterrent for faculty to adopt TBL is the time intensive development of TBL modules and the lack of available support to develop and improve classroom materials. It is the intent of the authors to form a national freshmen engineering TBL support group to facilitate the implementation of TBL in freshmen engineering courses.