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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

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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

  • 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 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

  • 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

  • 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 – Categories

ISECON 2011


Team Projects – Sources

ISECON 2011


Team Projects – Publication Types

ISECON 2011


Team Projects – Examples

Course website “Projects” page Spring 2011

ISECON 2011


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 Project – Example Website

ISECON 2011


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


Iris Authentication: Image Processing


Fingerprint Verification


Face Recognition

Each person has a unique face?


Face Recognition: System

?

Query

Face DB


Inspirational Portrait of Individuality


Face Recognition: National Security


Speaker Individuality: “My name is …”


Speaker Individuality

“My name is” from Two Different Speakers


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 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 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 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

  • 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

  • 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 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 Evaluationand Grade Chart (4 member team)

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

ISECON 2011


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

  • 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)

  • 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

  • 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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