June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Software Engineering Constituent Committee
23.716.1 - 23.716.11
Improving Individual Learning in Software Engineering Team ProjectsTeam-based projects are frequently included in software engineering courses, and for a numberof reasons. Educators integrate team projects into the curriculum to emulate real worlddevelopment situations, expose students to the challenges and benefits of team-working, andallow students to tackle problems of larger scales and complexities than they could otherwise doalone. Furthermore, there is evidence that collaborative learning methods are more effectivethan the traditional teacher-centered methodology 3,4. Finally, the Accreditation Board forEngineering and Technology (ABET) expects students to gain proficiency in team work5. Whilethe reasons for their inclusion are numerous, team-based projects, and team-based assessments inparticular, are not without their problems.A primary focus of our research has been in addressing the difficulties students experience inteam-working, and in developing a framework of guidelines and practices that facilitate effectiveteams. These have been successful with respect to team performance and project outcomes, butas our studies have progressed we have discovered that individual learning of team members isnot positively impacted in the ways we had anticipated. While team cognition is evident, andteams following the collaboration framework experience greater mindshare as measured throughmental model convergence, individually the students are not experiencing significant gains intheir understanding of the course content, despite it directly relating to the work of their teams.In essence, the old saw “that an effective team is greater than the sum of its parts” appears tohold true, but as we know our education system concerns individual achievement and learning.In this research our focus is on determining the factors to facilitate both team success andindividual learning during team-oriented project-based learning. Of particular interest is theefficacy of collaborative learning approaches in general for engineering students. This is anessential question to determine whether team projects should be limited in the individualassessment of students. 1. M. Bass, Monitoring GSD projects via shared mental models: A suggested approach, Proc 2006 Int Workshop Global Software Dev Practitioner, Shanghai, China, 2006, pp. 34–37. 2. 2. J. Espinosa, R.E. Kraut, F.J. Lerch, S.A. Slaughter, J. Herbsleb, and A. Mockus, Shared mental models and coordination in largescale, distributed software development, Proc Int Conf Inform Syst, New Orleans, LA, December 16–19, 2001. 3. 17. Schroeder, C. M., Scott, T. P., Tolson, H., Huang, T., & Lee, Y. (2007). A meta- analysis of national research: Effects of teaching strategies on student achievement in science in the United States. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 57(10), 149–174. 4. 18. Springer, L., Donovan, S. S., & Stanne, M. E. (1999). Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering and technology: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(1), 21–51. 5. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., “Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Programs”, www.abet.org, ABET, 2012.
DeFranco, J. F., & Neill, C. J. (2013, June), Improving Individual Learning in Software Engineering Team Projects Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19730
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