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Using Collaborative Technology in CS Education to facilitate Cross-Site Software Development

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Marie Devlin



With offshore computing becoming more prevalent [1], it is essential that we increase our students’ employability by providing new and relevant experiences in software development and project management; giving them valuable skills that are essential in an ever-increasing and changing global market. What is new about the work we discuss here is how collaborative technologies have facilitated a year-long cross-site software engineering project between Durham University and Newcastle University students. The introduction of this cross-site perspective to our software engineering modules is a new and innovative development in the UK undergraduate Computer Science curriculum. Our use of various collaboration technologies such as online discussion forums, video-conferencing, company repositories, version control software etc., as part of the collaborative team project has not only encouraged students to develop technical ‘transferable’ skills but also gain an understanding, through realistic experiences, of how the use of these technologies involves more than just learning their technical aspects and operation, but that it is essential to develop and implement the soft processes and skills required to use them successfully and effectively and hence optimize their cross-site working partnerships and productivity. In this paper we describe the project, the technologies employed by the student teams and the results and anecdotal evidence of staff and students that show the successes and, it must be admitted, occasional failures of this work. We discuss how we have tried to manage the expectations of the students throughout the project, how the technologies we have provided have affected the students’ experience of cross-site collaboration and the impact of cross-site collaboration on our assessment strategies and curriculum design.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Devlin M, Drummond S, Hatch A

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2007

Pages: 9

Print publication date: 01/11/2007

Source Publication Date: November 2007

Report Number: 1060

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne