Implementing problem-based learning in software engineering in a Sri Lankan University

Macan Markar, Deborah (2010) Implementing problem-based learning in software engineering in a Sri Lankan University. [Thesis (PhD/Research)] (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The study aims to identify the parameters of an optimal learning environment to promote the development of graduate attributes and higher order learning skills in the context of a professional preparation course for Information Technology graduates at a public university in Sri Lanka. It employs a design-based learning approach with iterations of the design being undertaken over a four year period. The underlying pedagogy for the design was problem-based learning. As students were unused to being challenged to apply their knowledge to the resolution of problems, a primary focus of the design was on scaffolding the learning experience. Significant use was made of eLearning tools available through the Moodle content management system for this purpose. In addition to this, course lectures were supplemented with tutorial sessions which provided lecturers with an opportunity to work through a series of skills building activities with the students. A key initiative was to enhance student exposure to industry through the use of videos, chat and discussion forums as well as through face-to-face meetings. As many students in the public university system come from the rural hinterland of Sri Lanka their experience of the industry they aspire to join is often minimal. One consequence of this is a lack of awareness of the importance of soft skills or graduate attributes to industry employers and a consequent lack of motivation to participate in learning activities directed toward building such skills. The study also identified a fundamental need to address the issues of general and cognitive academic language proficiency in English – the language of instruction. While a range of tools and approaches were used successfully to help students develop teamwork, communication, independent learning and problem-solving skills, it became clear that it was not realistic to target development of such skills within a single subject and without addressing the issue of English language proficiency first. As the approach to study was a departure from largely didactic teaching-learning styles to which students had previously been exposed, opportunities for them to reflect on their learning were essential. These were built into the course in the form of assessable assignments. The study concludes by recommending a whole-ofcurriculum approach in the form of a framework for a further and more extensive trial of the approach.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) theses.
Depositing User: ePrints Administrator
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2011 04:40
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 00:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: problem-based learning; software engineering; Sri Lanka
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0803 Computer Software > 080309 Software Engineering
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): B Economic Development > 87 Construction > 8703 Construction Materials Performance and Processes > 870303 Polymeric Materials (e.g. Paints)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/19599

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