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Use of Scrum in a Virtual Environment to Enhance Collaboration and Systemic Reasoning of Engineering Students

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Undergraduate Students' Professional Skills and Reflection

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Gibrán Sayeg-Sánchez Tecnologico de Monterrey

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Dr. Gibrán Sayeg-Sánchez is professor – consultant in the Science Department in Tecnologico de Monterrey, Puebla campus. He studied a PhD in Financial Science in EGADE Business School (2016), a MSc in Industrial Engineering in Tecnologico de Monterrey (2011), and a BEng in Industrial and Systems Engineering in Tecnologico de Monterrey (2006). Dr. Sayeg-Sánchez has more than 10 years of experience in teaching statistics, mathematics, and operations research; and more than 12 years of experience in Operational Excellence consulting. His current research interests are focused in educational innovation and educational technologies.

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E. G. Avilés-Rabanales Tecnologico de Monterrey

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She currently serves as a full-time professor at the School of Engineering and Science. Graduated from the Master's Degree in Applied Statistics from Tecnologico de Monterrey and the Master's Degree in Marketing from the Virtual University of Tecnológico de Monterrey. Passionate about teaching, continuous training and development of new challenges

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Miguel X. Rodríguez-Paz Tecnologico de Monterrey Orcid 16x16

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Prof. Rodríguez-Paz got his B.Sc. In Civil Engineering from Tecnologico de Oaxaca in 1993. He studied a M.Sc. In Structural Engineering at Tecnologico de Monterrey and got his Ph.D. from the University of Wales at Swansea in 2003 where he did research on Numerical Methods for Fluid Dynamics as a post-doc Research Officer. In August 2004 he joined Tecnologico de Monterrey at its Puebla Campus. He is a full professor of Applied Mechanics since 2009. His research topics include Engineering Education, Structural Dynamics and Applied Mechanics. He has been a member of the National System of Researchers (SNI) in the Mexican Council of Science and Technology. He has held several position within the School of Engineering, including Head of School and his current post as head of the department of Sustainable Technologies and Civil Engineering. He enjoys teaching Engineering in a fun way and likes to learn about Flipped Learning and Open Education. Since 2010 he is an Academic/educatational Youtuber.

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Engineering students are often requested to work collaboratively in the solution of complex problems, however, accurately measuring the performance of individual team members can be difficult due to the conjunction of contributions into a single deliverable. This paper shows the impact of applying the Scrum methodology to manage and evaluate collaborative projects.

Scrum is a widely used methodology for agile projects, and has been shown that it allows continuous creation of value to stakeholders. Moreover, Scrum application in academic projects has demonstrated that students can achieve results faster, and that their communication skills are improved. Nevertheless, literature has shown that the environment in which Scrum is implemented greatly affects the team outcomes, requiring then a physical infrastructure that allows proper communication and encourages teamwork.

In contrast to current literature, this paper explores use of Scrum in a virtual collaborative environment, using multimedia platforms to enhance asynchronous collaboration between students, and allowing the teacher real-time review of individual students’ contributions and performance. In order to collect data, thirty students were divided in random teams of 5 people and assigned roles according to Scrum methodology. A real-life inspired problem was then assigned to the teams, providing them the context of the problem, the main objective of the project, and a collection of User Stories to be solved during a fixed time interval of 5 weeks. Sprints were constrained to a one-week period, allowing the teacher to continuously observe the status of the project, providing feedback to individuals, and focusing on the Sprint Retrospective ceremony.

Within this approach, the study is focused in two key measurements: students’ perception of teamwork performance, and development of systemic reasoning skill. The first measurement is approached by a pre-post study design based in a Likert scale questionnaire. Results show improvement in the self-perceived performance of the students and in the quality of collaboration of their peers. The second measure is approached by the observation of three specific behaviors of the student among their contributions: identification of key variables, comprehension of variables interactions, and comprehension of problem limitations.

Sayeg-Sánchez, G., & Avilés-Rabanales, E. G., & Rodríguez-Paz, M. X. (2021, July), Use of Scrum in a Virtual Environment to Enhance Collaboration and Systemic Reasoning of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37978

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