Improving Teamwork in Software Engineering Projects in Higher Education

Quek, S. W. D., Teo, J. K. F., Louahemmsabah, N., Tong, Y. B. C., Poh, A. Z. R., Cao, Q. , Seow, C. K. , Yau, P. C. and Chen, A. Q. (2023) Improving Teamwork in Software Engineering Projects in Higher Education. In: 2023 IEEE ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference, College Station, TX, USA, 18-21 Oct 2023, (Accepted for Publication)

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In computing science (CS) education, software programming and software engineering subjects are parts of core CS subjects where students learn various programming languages and software development life cycle (SDLC). With the aim of equipping students with the necessary project skills and experiences essential for workplaces, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) have increasingly adopted the educational practice of bringing real-world team-based projects in the curriculum. Such software projects commonly support the use of Agile process practices, which place more emphasis on communications and teamwork among students in a team, stakeholders and industry customers. This could be manageable for small scale projects where student teams are in their learning journey with active and continuous communications with customers, while developing the necessary cohesion within the team to facilitate incremental deliverables of their software products. However, teamwork remains a bottleneck that is difficult to be consistently realized among members in group projects. It is not easy to motivate and measure all team members working towards the common goals or complete project tasks on time. As such, this paper proposes the Weekly Team Assessment (WTA) framework to continuously encourage teamwork throughout the software project development duration. We also propose the settings of dedicated leadership and constructive feedback iteratively in the WTA framework. The proposed methods have been applied and evaluated through the experiments in two software engineering modules, Professional Software Development and Team Project, involving 50 sophomore CS students who are divided into control group and experimental group equally. Experiment results are analyzed and discussed in this paper. Positive outcomes are observed from the experiment where about 72% of participants appreciate the proposed methods in improving their teamwork in group projects. The degree of effectiveness of the proposed methods is further evaluated from three aspects in the experiment.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:Teamwork, software engineering education, team projects, software development life cycle, higher education.
Status:Accepted for Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cao, Dr Qi and Yau, Dr Peter C Y and Seow, Dr Chee Kiat
Authors: Quek, S. W. D., Teo, J. K. F., Louahemmsabah, N., Tong, Y. B. C., Poh, A. Z. R., Cao, Q., Seow, C. K., Yau, P. C., and Chen, A. Q.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
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