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The Role of Project Management: an approach adopting cross-year tutoring Elizabeth Burd Department of Computer Science University of Durham.

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Presentation on theme: "The Role of Project Management: an approach adopting cross-year tutoring Elizabeth Burd Department of Computer Science University of Durham."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Role of Project Management: an approach adopting cross-year tutoring Elizabeth Burd 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 cross-year tutoring approach Results of pilot study 2001/2 and for full module (academic year 2002/3)

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 Existing SEG Project Management SEG Coordinator Group customer/ tutor Group chairman Phase leader } Student roles

7 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham7 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

8 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham8 Staff Perception of SEG Course focus on software engineering Loose their module’s time to group work activities Less important than degree programme technical content Considerable amount of work

9 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham9 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) Tied to the Software Engineering / Computer Science with Management Programmes

10 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham10 New SEG Project Management SEG Coordinator SE customer SE tutor Group Project Manager Phase leader } Level 2 roles } Level 3 role

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) –Oral 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 Suitability 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 from end of design until completion of implementation Both Level 2/3 students were surveyed to reported impressions of scheme. PMs were asked to provide effort weightings as well as Level 2 students (self and cross-year tutor assessment)

15 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham15 The Objectives of the Pilot Study The use of cross-year tutors assist successful product delivery (timing and quality);  Group work students find the assistance of a cross- year tutor approach beneficial;  Final year students perceive a benefit for cross-year tutoring enhances their project management skills; cross-year tutors’ effort assessment are 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 PM 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 PM 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 PM 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 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)

26 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham26 Minor disagreement issues

27 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham27 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)

28 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham28 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

29 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham29 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Student contribution (Level 2 estimate less work than Level 3 identified) Some Project Managers will over contribute - replicate issues of Level 2 (Un)expected failures for contribution Difficulties in coping with module change Helping students with other modules...

30 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham30 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Estimation of work put in by cross-year tutors (Project Manager) Estimation by PM:12 1/4 hours Estimation by SEG:6 1/2 hours

31 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham31 Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors Explanation of marking criteria

32 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham32 Results for full module Implemented this year as full module Results of 1 st and 2 nd terms are very promising No significant logistical problems or complaints

33 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham33 Increased motivation and participation 83% of survey respondents expressed a positive attitude to their active involvement within the module. All students said that they had been involved within reflective practices of the Software Engineering process. 64% saw a direct benefit of their work to their future careers.

34 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham34 Increased responsibility for their own learning All students identified through the survey that they had been in a position to practice the application of taught skills 83% identified that they had also had opportunities to practice skills learned in previous years. Further of those who expressed an opinion 78% of the students stated, unprompted, that the best part of the module was the opportunities to practice these learned skills.

35 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham35 Increased depth of understanding and accuracy 60% of Project Management students obtained a mark higher than the year average. 22% of the Software Engineering degree students showed an improvement on previous year’s grades

36 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham36 Resources Support for Pilot study LTSN-ICS - £2,500 Grant from University of £10,000 (equipment) Support from CLTR of £4,250 - Centre for Learning and Teaching Research – Education Department (result analysis and publication) Support from Department – allocation of room, running of module, payment of 2 demonstrators (1 technical, 1 group relations)

37 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham37 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

38 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham38 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...

39 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham39 Student Comments ‘The scheme provides facilities for developing leadership which is unique within modules’. ‘All the job interviews I have been to, the interviewers seem interested and focused on the project management module and what I have learnt. I think that they can relate to the problems and experiences’. ‘I think that it gives students real insight into what project management would be like in the work place. It seems easy until you have tried it!’

40 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham40 Conclusions Group work skills are a valuable and valued part of the curriculum resourcing it can be difficult Project Manager scheme seem to be a good learning/support mechanism Peer assessment is an extremely useful tool for checking assessment and student learning

41 Department of Computer Science, University of Durham41 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) –LTSN-ICS and Centre for Learning and Teaching in HE, for financial support


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