The use of team projects in a program capstone course for computer science or information systems majors has been a popular method for reinforcing and assessing program learning objectives for students in their final semester. Using real-world group projects as a learning activity is an excellent pedagogical approach in helping students develop critical thinking, team work, real-world problem solving, and communication skills. However, real-world group projects also provide many challenges to both the instructor and students alike. Instructors or students must find real-world projects appropriate for the learning objectives in the course. Instructors must determine how to provide teams with appropriate learning activities and provide effective feedback to reinforce learning objectives while fairly assessing project deliverables to individual team members. Students must find a common time to work together and learn to appropriately delegate project activities so each student fairly participates in the project. Finally, real-world projects have the real risk of failing due to circumstances outside the control of the instructor and students. There have been papers presented in the past describing methods to address these challenges and successfully use real-world team projects. This presentation gives a summary of these methods and presents a successful and practical approach that has been used for the past seven years in an information technology program capstone course. This framework is based on traditional project management methodologies which allow students the opportunity to successfully meet learning objectives even if the project success factors are not met.
Leih, Mike, "Using Real-World Team Projects: A Pedagogical Framework" (2017). ACMS Conference Proceedings 2017. 15.
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