June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Electrical and Computer
13.111.1 - 13.111.15
A Structured Assessment Framework for Teamwork
Anecdotal evidence from students shows that ACU undergraduates have difficulty managing their time due to various commitments and responsibility outside university. As such, this paper proposes a cooperative learning model which endeavors to help students utilize their time optimally in a first year programming course in MATLAB. Included in this model is a structured assessment framework, as well as teamwork training to facilitate effective teamwork strategy. This model also places emphasis on strong alignment of curriculum objectives to progressive assessment tasks.
To deploy this framework, a MATLAB programming project is designed to be just large enough for a group of 3 students to finish in one semester. To solve the problem of slow start with poor planning, the project is divided into six tasks; the first two are to initiate students individually into the project, as teams are to be formed only during the fourth week of semester. The remaining tasks are for when teams are formed. It is expected that by the time the teams are formed, each student is already familiar with the project and this is shown via continuous online discussions as well as written reports. Students who contribute more towards the project, evidenced by online discussions as well as CATME student peer evaluation results, are given bonus marks. It is anticipated that this framework can change the high achievers’ perception of teamwork; in normal teamwork environment, these high achievers feel that the poorer students waste their time. Also, the less talented students can be encouraged to participate strongly in the project, thus eliminating a significant number of “passengers”.
“We need to work to support ourselves and we want a life, therefore time for study is scarce” depicts the typical full-time student characteristics in ACU, Australia. Part-time students, with ages varying between 25 and 50, have one or more of the following responsibilities: • a demanding job; • family; and • the need to improve their career potential. The scarcity of time for study is witnessed by the aforementioned student characterization and as such, it is desirable to design courses which consider the factors that have negative impact on students’ lives, given their various responsibilities outside university. There are three ways this can be achieved: 1. ensure coverage of course materials is not too heavy; 2. ensure alignment between teaching / learning activities, course curriculum, and assessment; and 3. make teamwork a prominent feature of the course.
Accordingly, this study proposes a framework to incorporate these options. In order to make teamwork a successful endeavor for students, teamwork training is included in the course
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