Achieving Effective Communication between Diverse Disciplines in Small Teams

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



© 2018 IEEE. This 'Full Paper' in the 'Innovative Practice Category' describes a 3 year study of communication and collaboration within small teams composed of CS and Communication students developing citizen science applications for sponsoring scientists. To evaluate the communication within the teams, an end of the semester survey asked students to rate the quality of their communication within their own discipline and with the other discipline. Our goal is that students should rate the quality of communication equally. Our method for improving the collaboration uses a variety of ethnographic techniques to discover the likely influences and barriers to team collaboration and communication. We then modify the collaboration of the classes to mollify the barriers. After three years of collaboration, we learned that classes meeting at the same time in adjacent classrooms, so as to create time and place for teams to meet, were not sufficient to improve communication. For the collaboration within the team and the communication quality to reach parity between the disciplines, the instructors need to clearly demonstrate shared goals for the courses and create a common language by giving multiple joint lectures.

Publication Title

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE