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A Decade Review of a Masters-Level Real-World-Projects Capstone Course Charles Tappert and Allen Stix Pace University, New York. Real-World Student Projects. Conducted in capstone courses for 10 years Student teams build real-world computer information systems for actual customers

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A Decade Review of a Masters-Level

Real-World-Projects Capstone Course

Charles Tappert and Allen Stix

Pace University, New York

ISECON 2011


Real world student projects
Real-World Student Projects

  • Conducted in capstone courses for 10 years

  • Student teams build real-world computer information systems for actual customers

  • Project systems serve the community

    • internal university community at Pace

    • greater university community

    • external non-profit local community

ISECON 2011


Real world student projects cont
Real-World Student Projects (cont)

  • Real-world projects are a stellar learning experience for students

  • Win-win situation for all

    • Students

    • Customers

    • Instructors and other involved faculty

    • School of CSIS

    • University

ISECON 2011


Migrate to online format
Migrate to Online Format

  • Migrated from traditional face-to-face format to online format in Fall 2006

  • To be progressive

    • Technology for online courses adequate

    • Online preferred by employed students – no scheduling conflicts & no commuting

  • To expand the population of students beyond the greater NYC area

ISECON 2011


Challenges of online format
Challenges of Online Format

  • Uncertainties of how traditional course methods port to the online environment and what new methods might be required

  • Teams lacking co-presence require higher level of organizational and process skills

  • No weekly classroom meetings as safety net for teams’ interaction and functioning

ISECON 2011





Team projects examples
Team Projects – Examples

Course website “Projects” page Spring 2011

ISECON 2011


Team website
Team Website

  • Project title and description

  • Project members and customers

  • All deliverables posted

    • Weekly status reports

    • Midterm & final presentation slides

    • User manual

    • Technical paper

ISECON 2011



Team projects example systems
Team Projects – Example Systems

  • Handwriting Forgery Quiz System

  • Rare Coin Grading System

  • Keystroke Biometric Experimental System


Biometric Authentication

A robot identifies a suspect,from the movie “Minority Report.”


Iris Authentication: Data

Left

Right

Train

Man

Test

Train

Wo

man

Test




Face Recognition

Each person has a unique face?


Face Recognition: System

?

Query

Face DB





My name is from two different speakers

Speaker Individuality

“My name is” from Two Different Speakers


Speaker individuality
Speaker Individuality

“My name is” divided into seven sound units.


Multi-modality Biometric Authentication

System that requires user verification

Embeded & Hybrid User Verification system

biomouse Fingerprint scanner

LCD Pen

tablet

Digital

Camera

Microphone


Issues solutions stemming from scattered teams
Issues/Solutions Stemmingfrom Scattered Teams

  • Project stakeholder communication

    • Issue – communication gets difficult

      • For example, scattered team members more likely to feel isolated and want to communicate directly with instructor or customer

    • Solution

      • Communication between team and instructor/customer must be through team leader

      • Email distribution lists for whole class and for each team

      • Project team leaders must be local to facilitate communication/meetings with instructor and customers

      • Course website provides central source of course information

      • Blackboard discussion forum for each project (see below)

ISECON 2011


Issues solutions stemming from scattered teams cont
Issues/Solutions Stemmingfrom Scattered Teams (cont)

  • How to handle quizzes, deliverables, etc.

    • Issue – classroom meetings not available

    • Solution – use Blackboard educational software

      • Quizzes

      • Collecting digital deliverables

      • Discussion forums

        • Forum for archiving instructor email

        • Forum for student introductions

        • Forum for textbook and other course material

        • Forum for each team project

ISECON 2011


Issues solutions stemming from scattered teams cont1
Issues/Solutions Stemmingfrom Scattered Teams (cont)

  • Provide some face-to-face interaction

    • Issue – no weekly classroom meetings

    • Solution – three classroom meetings for local students/customers

      • Near beginning of course

        • Face-to-face introductions, nature of course, specifics of course, student team project meetings

      • Midterm

        • Project status presentations

      • End of semester

        • Final project presentations

ISECON 2011


Current assessment of online students
Current Assessment of Online Students

  • Individual quizzes (20%)

    • Blackboard educational software system

  • Team initial assignment (10%)

    • Students learn to function as a team

  • Team project midterm checkpoint (20%)

  • Team project final checkpoint (20%)

  • Team technical paper (30%)

  • Strong emphasis on projects

    • No midterm/final exams (used in two-semester course)

ISECON 2011


Team member self and peer evaluations
Team Member Self and Peer Evaluations

  • Issue – lack of classroom meetings makes it difficult to determine individual team members’ contribution to the project work

  • Peer evaluations critical for distributed teams

    • Some minimal team member/customer contact

    • Some minimal team member/instructor contact

  • Literature indicates

    • Various granularity levels in peer evaluations

    • Some automated systems reported

ISECON 2011


Team member self and peer evaluations1
Team Member Self and Peer Evaluations

  • Three times during the semester

    • After initial assignment to learn the process

    • At the midterm checkpoint

    • At the final end-of-semester checkpoint

  • Process for a graded team event

    • First assign a team grade

    • Adjust individual grades up/down based on self/peer, customer, and instructor evaluations

ISECON 2011


Example team peer evaluation and grade chart 4 member team
Example Team Peer Evaluationand Grade Chart (4 member team)

+/- 2% for each summary +/- sign, showing only peer evaluations.

ISECON 2011


Pedagogical course evaluations
Pedagogical Course Evaluations

  • Issue – lack of classroom meetings makes it difficult for instructor to determine relative value of the course methodologies

  • Solution – semester-end survey (Survey Monkey)

    • Procedures/methods that worked well, or did not work well, and why

ISECON 2011


Pedagogical customer evaluations
Pedagogical Customer Evaluations

  • Issue – instructor is often not aware of the quality of team-customers interactions

  • Solution – semester-end survey

    • Obtain student feedback on customer interaction

      • Were customer requirements clear?

      • Was amount of contact/interaction adequate?

      • Was help on the project work appropriate?

ISECON 2011


Case study agile methodology extreme programming xp
Case Study - Agile Methodology Extreme Programming (XP)

  • First rigorous test of XP method

    • Instructor posted deliverables on that project’s page on the course website

    • Deliverables intended as ~2-week duration

  • Results

    • Instructor overestimated ability of team

    • Often had to provide pseudo code

    • However, first deliverable caused team frustration

      • Re-running experiment of previous team

      • Not possible because not documented properly

ISECON 2011


Conclusions
Conclusions

  • Over five year’s experience in face-to-face mode

  • Over five year’s experience in online mode

  • Techniques for managing and assessing distributed teams have been successful and they continue to evolve

ISECON 2011


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