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Abstract

The use of problem-based learning (PBL) is gaining attention in the engineering classroom as a way to help students synthesize foundational knowledge and to better prepare students for practice. In this work, we study the discourse interactions between 27 student teams and two instructors in an engineering PBL environment to analyze how participation is distributed among team members, paying particular attention to the differences between male and female students. There were no statistically significant differences between the amount that male and female students spoke; however, stereotypical gender roles and traditional gendered behavior did manifest in the discussion. Also, regardless of the gender composition of the team, the amount of time that each member talked was usually unbalanced. Our findings lead to recommendations to instructors interacting with student teams and contribute to knowledge about team and gender interactions in PBL environments.

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