Teams Work (Panel Session)

Moses, Louise and Fincher, Sally and Caristi, James (2000) Teams Work (Panel Session). In: Proceedings of the 31st SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/331795.331906

Abstract

“I didn't think I'd like group work, but I ended up in a good team and it was a great experience. But I feel if you end up in a bad team it can really get you down and will affect your mark.” This student response (University of Exeter, U.K.) is typical and telling. At least some of the time teams work, and the progression from “didn't think I'd like” to “great experience” happens often enough that those of us who use team work have come to expect it, at least part of the time. The ability to work well in teams is essential for our graduates. It cuts across all the questions — what, where, why and how we teach. However, not all of our students find working as a member of a team a natural and easy thing to do. Not only that, even though the student quoted in the preceding paragraph uses the phrase “good team” and the phrase “bad team” these and many other terms are not well defined. The Computer Science (CS) academic community regards group project work as an essential component of any degree; the discipline's professional societies world-wide emphasize project and group work as preparation for professional practice. Project work is recognized as having many educational and social benefits, in particular providing students with opportunities for active learning. Nevertheless, managing project work is problematic, because CS projects are:expensive, demanding considerable supervision as well as technical resources; complex, marrying design, human communication, human-computer interaction, and technology to satisfy objectives ranging from consolidation of technical skills through provoking insight into organizational practice, teamwork and professional issues, to inculcating academic discipline and presentation skills; continually demanding, set in the context of a rapidly changing technology which affects technical objectives and demands ever-evolving skills in both students and supervisors. In a young and changing discipline, some aspect of project work is questioned in almost every institution. The three panelists bring experience from four educational institutions in two countries.Louise Moses is Chair of the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Mount Union College. She has supervised team projects in extra-departmental service courses, classes provided for departmental majors, and inter-disciplinary courses. During the summer term of the previous three academic years she has been Honorary Visiting Researcher in the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering at The University of Exeter, Exeter, U.K. In that position she has worked as part of the management team for first year students in the first year project. James Caristi is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Valparaiso University. He was the 1990 recipient of the Sears Roebuck Award for Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership, and is the 1999 recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Indiana Section of the Mathematical Association of America. He has been using teams in different ways in computer science classes at all levels for over 15 years. Sally Fincher is a Lecturer in the Computing Laboratory at the University of Kent at Canterbury in England. She has been project manager for the Effective Projectwork in Computer Science (EPCoS) project. EPCoS was a 10-partner, three-year funded project which worked to identify best practices in CS projectwork, transfer those practices between institutions and examine and analyze the process of transfer. We have wrestled with project design and how to make team assignments. And, even though providing good teamwork experiences is more of an art than a science — with no hard and fast rules — there are guidelines; it will be profitable to share our knowledge and our experiences. We shall consider six major areas concerning team and group work, and the kind of issues that are associated with them. Allocation How do we allocate students to groups? And then groups to supervisors?Supervision What sort of role should a supervisor take with respect to their group? Friend, mentor, project manager or technical guru? Does it make a difference? Assessment How do we assess the contribution of an individual when the deliverables are a team effort ? Should we even try to? Motivation What happens when students get into a “bad” team? How do we keep them motivated? Reflection Especially when introducing teamwork into the curriculum, reflection is an essential part of the learning cycle. How do we plan to make sure we include time and opportunity for this? Teamwork How do we encourage working together, when in some other academic circumstances this might be called “cheating”?

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Additional information: issue 1
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science) > QA 76 Software, computer programming,
Divisions: Faculties > Science Technology and Medical Studies > School of Computing > Computing Education Group
Depositing User: Mark Wheadon
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2009 17:37
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2009 18:52
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/22039 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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