At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Engineering

Instructional Level

  • University

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Reviewing & assessing peers
  • Creating & designing
  • Presenting

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Laptops

Class size

  • Large (100-250)


  • Multiple class periods (2-3 classes)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Assessment & knowledge refinement


This activity is intended to develop presentation skills and to gain an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of engineering projects. Furthermore, this activity allows students to understand how they perform in a group according to their peers.

The teaching assistant assigns students to a group of 4 to 6 students. Only a portion of students from this class will present posters while others have chosen to make a video or do a debate.

In their assigned groups, the students pick an engineering challenge identified by the National Academy of Engineering. Each group makes a poster which discusses this topic along with describing the role of at least east two engineering disciplines and two non-engineering disciplines that must work collaboratively together in this project.

In class, the instructor and teaching assistants set up hanging poster numbers where the students should hang their posters. The instructor divides the posters into two groups (those who will present first and those who will present second). Students presenting posters set up their posters and all students in the class pick up a form to vote for their favourite poster.

Half of those groups presenting a poster will present to and be evaluated by the teaching assistants and the instructor, while all students who are not presenting vote for their favourite poster. At half time, those who were presenting first now go and around vote for their favourite poster while those who have posters and were voting now present. The teaching assistants and the instructor go around and mark a portion of all of the posters. The evaluation is based on the poster content, organization and presentation. At the end of the class, student votes are collected.

In the following class, a prize is given to the top three posters which is based on the student votes.

Students fill out a group peer and self-evaluation form and submit this form to the course website.

Teaching assistants compute final grade which is based on the average of three evaluations from the teaching assistants and the instructor plus the average of all peer evaluations and the self evaluation.

This activity was performed in a class of 200 students.

Instructional Objectives

To develop an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of engineering. To develop presentation skills. To understand how you (the student) work in a group/team.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

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Contributor's Notes

Lawrence R. Chen

Lawrence R. Chen

McGill University, Montreal


This assignment allows students to understand the interdisciplinary nature of engineering and also allows students to understand that a project is not possible without then involvement of many disciplines cooperating together. This activity allows students to practice their oral presentation. This activity also allows for students to see other students work which allows them to gauge where they fall within the class. This activity encourages reflective thinking when students are asked to evaluate themselves and their peers.


Due to the large number of students in the class, organizational logistics are sometimes difficult or can take a long time therefore you have to be very organized.


Ask the students clean up all of their supplies at the end (dictate, poster cards, etc.).

Applied Strategies


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