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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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slide1
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
slide13

Biometric Authentication

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

slide14

Iris Authentication: Data

Left

Right

Train

Man

Test

Train

Wo

man

Test

slide17

Face Recognition

Each person has a unique face?

speaker individuality
Speaker Individuality

“My name is” divided into seven sound units.

slide24

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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