Joel Sokol, associate professor of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISyE), has been selected to attend the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2011 Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium. Sokol was selected for being among the nation’s most engaged and innovative engineering educators. The symposium, to be held November 13-16 at the National Academies’ Beckman Center in Irvine, California, will be a highly interactive meeting, allowing attendees to share their innovations with others, learn from best practice, and network with colleagues.
Sokol was selected from a large number of applications for his innovations in project-based learning. An example of Sokol’s innovations in the classroom is his project TeamBuilder, an online team-building software he developed for ISyE students in the capstone design course Senior Design. Realizing that the task of finding compatible teammates is in many ways similar to dating, Sokol used an open-source online dating software and modified the code to create a site appropriate for teammate-matching. Sokol developed the software with the objective of decreasing the high levels of intra-team conflict within project teams, as well as to improve the experiences and achievement of the students who were unable to find a team on their own. Students are encouraged to start a TeamBuilder profile the semester prior to Senior Design. The profiles focus on five areas of information: personal details, time preferences/work styles/goals, project interests, academic/professional background, and specific skills/strengths/ weaknesses. The TeamBuilder profiles assist students in finding teammates with compatible goals and work ethic, and complementary skills and abilities.
Since Sokol implemented TeamBuilder three years ago, only 1-2% of students have been unable to find a team (down from 5-10%), and the number of teams self-reporting significant conflict has been cut in half. Last year, TeamBuilder won the Class of 1934 Outstanding Innovative Use of Education Technology Award, Georgia Tech’s highest award for innovative education technology.
Sokol's research interests include operations research and its application in a wide variety of areas, from logistics, manufacturing, and network design to biology, social logistics, and sports modeling. His research has won the EURO Management Science Strategic Innovation Prize, and his LRMC method (predictive modeling for the NCAA basketball tournament) has been featured in the New York Times and on CNN and ESPN. Sokol is also a recipient of some of Georgia Tech's highest awards for teaching.
The FOEE Symposium brings together some of the nation’s most engaged and innovative engineering educators in order to recognize, reward, and promote effective, substantive, and inspirational engineering education through a sustained dialogue within the emerging generation of innovative faculty.
Industrial and Systems Engineering