This project is funded by the Northwestern University Office of Provost.

In this project, we are investigating how to self-assemble student- and faculty-based project teams that are optimally effective according to various criteria such as learning, cohesiveness, and final performance.

We plan to address this research goal in two phases. In phase one, we would first like to understand the socio-technical motivations behind the team formation process that influences students’ decisions to select potential teammates. We intend to use a multi-theoretical multilevel model of team assembly to examine which mechanisms (e.g., skill, level, role, resources) explain why students select others as team members. Then, in phase two, we will implement interventions in the team assembly process to modify the recommendations users receive. The goal would be to help them select more suitable teammates to facilitate improved learning, project designs and cohesiveness. Ultimately, our goal is to determine if providing users more information about their potential teammates and allowing participants to choose their own teams gives them more agency in the process and increases their motivation to learn.

To help us address our research objectives, we plan to use My Dream Team (MDT), a web-based team recommender tool developed by SONIC with the goal of facilitating the assembly process of project teams. The platform provides the opportunity to better understand the assembly behaviors of people through the application of social science theories and the analysis of digital trace data. MDT uses matching and ranking algorithms to provide theoretically driven recommendations for team membership.



Noshir Contractor (PI),  Leslie DeChurch

SONIC Team MembersJackie Ng, Brennan Antone

Developers: Anup Sawant, Xiang Lee