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The Building of Teams During an IT Competition: Success with Combining Multiple Schools into Teams to Perform Collaborative Challenges During a Two-Day Competition.

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Instructional Strategies and Curricula in ECE II

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1430.1 - 22.1430.17



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Paper Authors


Julie A. Rursch Iowa State University

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Julie A. Rursch is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. Her research is on a novel approach to critical infrastructure modeling. Julie has been part of the IT-Adventures staff since the program's inception and currently serves as the Assistant Director of the IT-Adventures program.

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Douglas W. Jacobson Iowa State University Orcid 16x16

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Doug Jacobson is a University Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. Dr. Jacobson joined the faculty in 1985 after receiving a PhD degree in Computer Engineering from Iowa State University in 1985. Dr. Jacobson is currently the director the Iowa State University Information Assurance Center. Dr. Jacobson teaches network security and information warfare and has written a textbook on network security. Dr. Jacobson has received two R&D 100 awards for his security technology and has two patents in the area of computer security. Dr. Jacobson has given over 50 presentations in the area of computer security and has testified in front of the U.S. Senate committee of the Judiciary on security issues associated with peer-to-peer networking.

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The Building of Teams During an IT Competition:  Success with Combining Multiple Schools into Teams to Perform Collaborative Challenges During a Two‐Day Competition.  Faculty of post‐secondary education in any science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) discipline recognize that nationally enrollments in science and technology are declining.   Being part of an Electrical and Computer Engineering department at a land grant institution, we are most specifically  focused on the STEM topic of information technology (IT) and concerned with the downturn in the number of graduates to fill professional IT positions.    The IT‐Adventures program, now in its fourth year, is an Iowa‐based, statewide initiative dedicated to increasing interest in and awareness of IT among high school students.  The underlying tenet of the program is through increasing understanding of and excitement for IT at the high school level, we can increase the number of students enrolling in IT‐related programs at post‐secondary institutions and increase the number of graduates who will fill future IT needs.  A secondary and arguably as worthy goal is to make the whole experience fun.  IT‐Adventures is a year‐long inquiry‐based learning program for the high school students in three areas:  cyber defense, game design and robotics.  The capstone event for students who participate in the year‐long IT‐Adventures program is a two‐day competition.  Students showcase the IT knowledge they gained during the past year of work by exhibiting a primary challenge solution they have worked on prior to the event, undertaking real‐time challenges that are introduced during the competition and making presentations about their clubs’  IT‐related community service projects.     This paper focuses on the type of real‐time challenges provided to the teams competing in the two‐day event.  In a majority of the competitions available for students, both high school and post‐secondary, the unit of competition is team that is based upon students from a single institution participating in the event.  However, in two of the three learning areas (game design and robotics), we have found that collaborative real‐time challenges where teams from different schools are required work to share resources and collaborate on design challenges are very successful.  We have had a very positive response to these kinds of collaborative challenges from the participants, as well as the teachers and mentors for the high schools.  The paper will provide a background of how to create and judge collaborative projects, as well as data supporting the effectiveness of the IT‐Adventures program and the two‐day competition to increase enrollments in IT‐related areas.  With only two years of enrollment data available (the Fall 2010 enrollments are not available at the time of this abstract submission due date), of the students who have participated in our program in the past two years, 68 students out of 220 seniors have enrolled at Iowa State University in an IT‐related area.  We do not have data on how many participants enrolled at sister institutions or community colleges in our state.   

Rursch, J. A., & Jacobson, D. W. (2011, June), The Building of Teams During an IT Competition: Success with Combining Multiple Schools into Teams to Perform Collaborative Challenges During a Two-Day Competition. Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18533

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