Group projects in the Information Technology curriculum: towards best practice

Lyng, Brendan and Lowry O’Neill, Catherine (2011) Group projects in the Information Technology curriculum: towards best practice. [Conference Proceedings]

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Abstract

Employers in the computing industry increasingly seek graduates who possess good team-working skills. Various HETAC and WIT strategy and policy documents declare that students should emerge from their third level studies possessing the ability to work in teams. This paper presents the findings of a mixed method study consisting of questionnaires and interviews of WIT undergraduate computing students.The research found that:1. Student teams are barely cohesive (based upon quantitative measures of cohesion);2. Computing students are unfamiliar with document sharing and project collaboration technologies such as Google Apps/Google Docs, Mendeley or Dropbox;3. No formal scheduling of group projects can lead to a massive imbalance of in the frequency and number of group projects across the four years of a computing degree;4. The grading of group projects was perceived by students to be unfair and inaccurate, particularly when average group marks were allocated to all group members by lecturers.5. Presenting a project that is easily divided into non-interdependent sub-tasks leads to students working alone and not developing their team-working skills. High levels of sub-task divisibility may also lead to loafing going unchecked until late into the project cycle.The research findings have implications for lecturing staff, administration staff and students of group projects. They have relevance to integrative learning as they combine knowledge from multiple sources (pedagogy, assessment and evaluation, curriculum design, psychology and project management), as well as to technology enhanced learning (student under-utilisation of document sharing and collaboration technologies).

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Depositing User: National Forum
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 08:12
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2015 07:57
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2796

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