Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.594578
Title: Active learning in computing : using social media to support group work in higher education
Author: Charlton, Terence James
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
Active Learning in Computing was the first Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project for Computing Science in England. Facilitating a shift towards far higher levels of active learner engagement in the HE computing curriculum, the project’s primary objectives sought to enhance the student learning experience by placing a far greater emphasis on both industry-relevant group work and independent problem solving. As part of this initiative, Newcastle and Durham University partners extended their traditional team-based software engineering programmes to address the emerging commercial adoption of Global Software Development (a practice whereby virtual teams of distributed domain experts use ICT-mediated systems to work collaboratively across spatial, temporal and organisational boundaries). Running over the course of an entire academic year, participating undergraduate students were placed into “virtual companies” and encouraged to collaborate both locally and cross-site to create a variety of complex software solutions for real-world industrial clients. Supported by considerable investment in ICT infrastructure, this approach sought to generate active interaction between team members and foster the development of both interpersonal and vocational skills significant to the requirements of employers. However, despite the best efforts of the Active Learning in Computing team, students continually reported substantial difficulties interacting and communicating with their peers both locally and cross-site; this in turn led to frequent duplication of work and increased team member frustration and isolation. Motivated by a desire to resolve these important issues, a new stream of research was established at Newcastle University to explore new, innovative and cost-effective ways to generate and maintain student interaction across all aspects of the group programming activity. Based upon the initial results of this work and an investigation into informal team communication strategies, an Internet-based Web 2.0 social application named CommonGround was developed and deployed on the Facebook platform. Conceived of as a means to reduce geographic and temporal barriers to student interaction and community formation, the tool combined project-centric planning facilities with Facebook’s built-in communication affordances. By doing so, the tool helped to foster the generation of social capital and the inclusion of “peripheral” team members who often presented difficulties forming and maintaining offline relationships with their colleagues. Representing the main contribution of this Active Learning in Computing was the first Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project for Computing Science in England. Facilitating a shift towards far higher levels of active learner engagement in the HE computing curriculum, the project’s primary objectives sought to enhance the student learning experience by placing a far greater emphasis on both industry-relevant group work and independent problem solving. As part of this initiative, Newcastle and Durham University partners extended their traditional team-based software engineering programmes to address the emerging commercial adoption of Global Software Development (a practice whereby virtual teams of distributed domain experts use ICT-mediated systems to work collaboratively across spatial, temporal and organisational boundaries). Running over the course of an entire academic year, participating undergraduate students were placed into “virtual companies” and encouraged to collaborate both locally and cross-site to create a variety of complex software solutions for real-world industrial clients. Supported by considerable investment in ICT infrastructure, this approach sought to generate active interaction between team members and foster the development of both interpersonal and vocational skills significant to the requirements of employers. However, despite the best efforts of the Active Learning in Computing team, students continually reported substantial difficulties interacting and communicating with their peers both locally and cross-site; this in turn led to frequent duplication of work and increased team member frustration and isolation. Motivated by a desire to resolve these important issues, a new stream of research was established at Newcastle University to explore new, innovative and cost-effective ways to generate and maintain student interaction across all aspects of the group programming activity. Based upon the initial results of this work and an investigation into informal team communication strategies, an Internet-based Web 2.0 social application named CommonGround was developed and deployed on the Facebook platform. Conceived of as a means to reduce geographic and temporal barriers to student interaction and community formation, the tool combined project-centric planning facilities with Facebook’s built-in communication affordances. By doing so, the tool helped to foster the generation of social capital and the inclusion of “peripheral” team members who often presented difficulties forming and maintaining offline relationships with their colleagues. Representing the main contribution of this Active Learning in Computing was the first Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning project for Computing Science in England. Facilitating a shift towards far higher levels of active learner engagement in the HE computing curriculum, the project’s primary objectives sought to enhance the student learning experience by placing a far greater emphasis on both industry-relevant group work and independent problem solving. As part of this initiative, Newcastle and Durham University partners extended their traditional team-based software engineering programmes to address the emerging commercial adoption of Global Software Development (a practice whereby virtual teams of distributed domain experts use ICT-mediated systems to work collaboratively across spatial, temporal and organisational boundaries). Running over the course of an entire academic year, participating undergraduate students were placed into “virtual companies” and encouraged to collaborate both locally and cross-site to create a variety of complex software solutions for real-world industrial clients. Supported by considerable investment in ICT infrastructure, this approach sought to generate active interaction between team members and foster the development of both interpersonal and vocational skills significant to the requirements of employers. However, despite the best efforts of the Active Learning in Computing team, students continually reported substantial difficulties interacting and communicating with their peers both locally and cross-site; this in turn led to frequent duplication of work and increased team member frustration and isolation. Motivated by a desire to resolve these important issues, a new stream of research was established at Newcastle University to explore new, innovative and cost-effective ways to generate and maintain student interaction across all aspects of the group programming activity. Based upon the initial results of this work and an investigation into informal team communication strategies, an Internet-based Web 2.0 social application named CommonGround was developed and deployed on the Facebook platform. Conceived of as a means to reduce geographic and temporal barriers to student interaction and community formation, the tool combined project-centric planning facilities with Facebook’s built-in communication affordances. By doing so, the tool helped to foster the generation of social capital and the inclusion of “peripheral” team members who often presented difficulties forming and maintaining offline relationships with their colleagues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) ; School of Computing Science, Newcastle University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.594578  DOI: Not available
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