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Using Facebook to improve communication in undergraduate software development teams

Lookup NU author(s): Terry Charlton, Dr Marie Devlin


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As part of the CETL ALiC initiative (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning: Active Learning in Computing), undergraduate computing science students at Newcastle and Durham universities participate in a cross-site team software development project. To ensure we offer adequate resources to support this collaboration, we conducted an experience survey amongst teams and a content analysis of their reports. This paper reports on the findings of that investigation, and shows that success in the project was often determined by the students’ communication strategies and use of available technology. Significantly, students often abandoned the technologies provided and adopted Web 2.0 technologies such as Facebook instead. Based on these findings we have developed a tool called CommonGround, designed to run on the Facebook platform, which harnesses the students’ engagement with the service. CommonGround couples the communication and “social awareness” features inherent in the Facebook platform with basic meeting, schedule and project planning facilities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Charlton T, Devlin M, Drummond S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Computer Science Education

Year: 2009

Volume: 19

Issue: 4

Pages: 273-292

ISSN (print): 0899-3408

ISSN (electronic): 1744-5175

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/08993400903384935


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