Bad Attitudes: why design students dislike teamwork

Richard Tucker, Neda Abbasi


Positive experiences of teamwork in design contexts significantly improve students’ satisfaction with teaching and their attitudes towards future teamwork. Thus, an understanding of the factors leading to negative and positive team experiences can inform strategies to support effective teamwork. This paper examines design students’ perceptions and experiences of teamwork. Three sources of qualitative data were analysed: a pilot survey completed by 198 design students in four institutions; five focus groups with 23 students; and a national survey completed by 417 students from 18 Australian universities. Students were from a range of design disciplines, with the majority studying architecture. The findings provide insights into issues and challenges of learning how to design in teamwork contexts, in particular the importance of adopting strategies to promote individual accountability within a team and ensuring fair assessment that acknowledges levels of individual contributions. The paper concludes with recommendations for teachers.


Teamwork Experience; Assessment; Design Teaching,

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