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

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The role of project management an approach adopting cross year tutoring

The Role of Project Management:an approach adopting cross-year tutoring

Elizabeth Burd

Department of Computer Science

University of Durham


Data confidentiality

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.

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Presentation contents

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Software engineering in durham

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Problems with group work

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.

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Existing seg project management

Existing SEG Project Management

SEG Coordinator

Group customer/

tutor

}

Group chairman

Student roles

Phase leader

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Students perception of seg

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Staff perception of seg

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Level 3 project management module

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


New seg project management

New SEG Project Management

SEG Coordinator

SE customer

SE tutor

}

Group Project Manager

Level 3 role

}

Phase leader

Level 2 roles

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Project management module

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Benefits of approach

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Module risks

Module Risks

  • Loss of academic tutor for SEG

  • Suitability for some students

  • Students over/under involvement

  • Complaints from Level 2

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


The pilot study

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


The objectives of the pilot study

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.

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


General results

General Results

  • Popular with Level 3 students for CV

  • Most level 2 groups wished to be involved

  • No significant problems

  • Some good unexpected benefits

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Successful product delivery

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%

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Group work students find pm system beneficial

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Group work students find pm system beneficial1

Group work students find PM system beneficial

  • When asked to rate benefits of PM on scale of 1 - 10 (10 being most useful) average score was 7.3.

  • 3 students expressed dissatisfaction (score of 5 or less), 2 of these were students that staff had placed on progress warning

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Enhanced pm skills

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Pm effort assessment is more accurate than that of the tutor

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Product assessment

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Product assessment1

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%

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


The role of project management an approach adopting cross year tutoring

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Pm effort assessment is more accurate than that of the tutor1

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Minor disagreement issues

Minor disagreement issues

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Anomalies in effort reviews

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Can non supervisors identify contribution issues

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Potential pitfalls of peer mentors

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...

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Potential pitfalls of peer mentors1

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Potential pitfalls of peer mentors2

Potential pitfalls of peer-mentors

  • Explanation of marking criteria

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Results for full module

Results for full module

  • Implemented this year as full module

  • Results of 1st and 2nd terms are very promising

  • No significant logistical problems or complaints

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Increased motivation and participation

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.

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Increased responsibility for their own learning

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.

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Increased depth of understanding and accuracy

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Resources

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)

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Benefits

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Benefits somewhat less academic

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...

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Student comments

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!’

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Conclusions

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


Acknowledgements

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

Department of Computer Science, University of Durham


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