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Using Peer-mentors to aid the Project Management of Group Work Elizabeth Burd, Sarah Drummond Department of Computer Science University of Durham.

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Presentation on theme: "Using Peer-mentors to aid the Project Management of Group Work Elizabeth Burd, Sarah Drummond Department of Computer Science University of Durham."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using Peer-mentors to aid the Project Management of Group Work Elizabeth Burd, Sarah Drummond Department of Computer Science University of Durham

2 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham2 Data Confidentiality The data presented within this representation has been modified to preserve confidentiality. Changes have been made in a way, however, to ensure that the essence of the data findings are maintained.

3 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham3 Presentation Contents Teaching group work and project management in Durham The peer-mentor approach Results of pilot study

4 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham4 Software Engineering in Durham Level 2/3, 40 CAT points module Just under 100 students Students take 55 lectures and 88 hours supported practicals Group project supports theory of lectures Assessment by individual work, group work and unseen examination paper. Module called SE (incorporates SEG)

5 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham5 Problems with Group Work -Assessment – not all students put in an equal contribution -Management –when faced with tight deadlines theoretical principles are inevitably abandoned -Chairpersons – there is often strong competition for the role of chair but students do not know each other well when appointments –Group dynamics – some groups fail to gel. Often these members fail to explain the seriousness of the problem to supervisors for fear of being down- marked.

6 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham6 Students’ Perception of SEG Enjoy the practical work Put in more effort that other modules See relevance of module to industry (Mostly) enjoy the opportunity to work as a group Opportunity to demonstrate programming skills

7 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham7 Staff Perception of SEG Course focus on software engineering loose time to group work activities less important than technical content considerable amount of work

8 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham8 Existing SEG Project Management SEG Coordinator Group customer/ tutor Group chairman Phase leader } Student roles

9 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham9 New SEG Project Management SEG Coordinator SE customer SE tutor Group Project Manager Phase leader } Level 2 roles } Level 3 role

10 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham10 Level 3 Project Management Module 1 technical lecture per week including industrial experts 2 hours practical work (1 hour individual work, 1 hour work with group) Tired to the Software Engineering / Computer Science with Management Programmes

11 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham11 Project Management Module Indicative content –risk, cost, effort assessment –team software process –forecasting and judgement technologies –new implementation approaches –measuring the software process Assessment –Learning log (tutor set and student identified topics) –Presentation

12 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham12 Benefits of Approach Scaleable Practical involvement (realistic?) More personal contact for SEG students Consistency of SEG direction Students participate in more honest discussions of problems

13 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham13 Module Risks Loss of academic tutor for SEG Only suitable for some students Students over/under involvement Complaints from Level 2

14 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham14 The Pilot Study 16 out of the 17 groups agreed to assist in project Students applied for PM positions work with a SEG group (open to all SE students) All abilities of students (based on staff concerns) Students worked during end of design until completion of implementation Both Level 2/3 students were surveyed to identify impressions of scheme. PMs were asked to provide effort weightings as well as Level 2 students

15 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham15 The Objectives of the Study The use of peer-mentors assist successful product delivery (timing and quality);  Group work students find the assistance of a peer- mentor beneficial;  Final year students perceive a benefit for peer- mentoring enhances their project management skills; Peer-mentor effort assessment is more accurate than that of the tutor.

16 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham16 General Results Popular with Level 3 students for CV Most level 2 groups wished to be involved No significant problems Some good unexpected benefits

17 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham17 Successful Product Delivery Timeliness –Design delivered later that usual –Implementation all completed on time, each included some testing Quality –Design marks up 5% –Implementation marks 6%

18 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham18 Group work students find peer- mentor system beneficial Identified most useful activities: 1. Support through previous experience 2. Advice on testing 3. Assistance with team meetings 4. Advice on programming 5. Explanation of marks

19 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham19 Group work students find peer- mentor system beneficial When asked to rate benefits of PM on scale of (10 being most useful) average score was students expressed dissatisfaction (score of 5 or less), 2 of these were students that staff had placed on progress warning

20 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham20 Enhanced project management skills Identified most useful activities: 1. Working towards improving motivation 2. Conducting team meetings 3. Mentoring 4. Task allocation 5. Conducting progress reviews

21 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham21 PM effort assessment is more accurate than that of the tutor Do tutors have sufficient knowledge of their group members progress? Over 57% of the tutors felt unable to provide accurate individual effort adjustments for all the students within their group

22 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham22 Product Assessment Comparing staff to student marking identified the following ranks: Staff: 9,2,6,10,3,16,11,17,5,7,8,4,1 Student:9,2,16,3,11,10,17,7,6,4,5,1,8

23 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham23 Product Assessment Comparing staff to student marking identified the following ranks: Staff: 9,2,6,10,3,16,11,17,5,7,8,4,1 Student:9,2,16,3,11,10,17,7,6,4,5,1,8 difference between ranks of group 6 equals 3%

24 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham24

25 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham25

26 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham26 PM effort assessment is more accurate than that of the tutor? All sets agreed (7) Staff fail to spot contribution issues (1) PM fail to spot contribution issues (1) Staff highlight possible false contribution issue (2) PM highlight possible false contribution issue (2) Minor disagreements (3)

27 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham27 Minor disagreement issues

28 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham28 Anomalies in effort reviews Anomalies were identified when comparing effort reviews using self, peer, PM, and staff assessment Problems were mainly related to self assessment, but were relatively few in number, (less than 10%): –ranking self higher than others (4 students) –ranking self lower than others (2 students)

29 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham29 Can non-supervisors identify contribution issues? All students who failed to attain an appropriate level of contribution were identified Some additional students identified as potential contribution problems

30 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham30 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Student contribution (Level 2 estimate less work that Level 3 identified) Some Project Managers will over contribute Unexpected failures for contribution Help with other module...

31 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham31 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Estimation of work put in by peer-mentor (Project Manager) Estimation by PM:12 1/4 hours Estimation by SEG:6 1/2 hours

32 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham32 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Explanation of marking criteria

33 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham33 Benefits Some students shine All students seemed to enjoy experience Experience in areas otherwise hard to provide Opportunities for more applied PM studies, i.e. metrics, maintenance Reduction in staffing time

34 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham34 Benefits (somewhat less academic!) Sorting general university problems Socialising Bribing Feeding us (Bangers and Mash) Buying us pints, making us cups of tea loving us...

35 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham35 Conclusions Group work skills are a valuable and valued part of the curriculum Full implementation of approach in October Project Managers seem to be a good learning/support mechanism Peer assessment is an extremely useful tool for checking assessment and student learning

36 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham36 Acknowledgements Thanks to the following for the assistance with this work –Malcolm Munro (HoD, Alternate lecture on SE module) –Sarah Drummond (SEG Administrator) –Brendan Hodgson (Director of UG Studies) –All CS staff who supervise SEG groups –LTSN-ICS and Centre for Learning and Teaching in HE, for financial support


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