INTRODUCING NEW METHODS IN SOFTWARE ENGINEERING TEACHING: USING E-PORTFOLIO FOR EVALUATING STUDENTS' PROJECTS
The Technical Engineering in Information Systems (“Ingeniería Técnica en Informática de Gestión” - ITIG) in the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), is a three-year university course with two educational program strategies: on-site students and part-distance students. The part-distance students’ strategy is an experimental program UJI is applying in a reduced subset of its university courses with the aim of getting ready to undertake the new graduate studies in Computer Science and Telematics under the framework of the Common European Space in Higher Education (CSHE). Among CHSE objectives, autonomous learning and testing for students is strongly promoted.
The Software Engineering for Information Systems II is a fifth semester core subject course of ITIG studies with 3,6 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) equivalent credits (total 90 hours: 45 on-site hours distributed into theory, 30, and practice, 15; the other 45 hours are assigned to student tasks). In the part-distance students’ strategy, the total ECTS credits are conserved but the on-site hours distribution is different: 7.5 hours of theory and 6.0 of practice; the other 76.5 hours are assigned to student tasks. In this course, the practice is based on developing a small software project with object-oriented methodologies and modeling techniques (currently, Rational Unified Process and UML), and it takes a 30% of the final marks. Therefore, a good procedure for reviewing and assessing student software projects is needed. In addition, the course needs new resources for fostering autonomous learning and testing with relation to the practice.
The e-Portfolio is an educational tool which allows to document a set of evidences intended to provide an individual curriculum based on his/her professional skills, summarizing the academic (in our case) achievements and strengths. We believed the e-Portfolio could be a useful tool for assessing student software projects and giving more autonomy to individuals in order to explain and present his/her project. And, with this aim, we proposed an educational project under the UJI new lecturers training program activities for 2009-2010. The main objective of this project was to introduce a teaching methodology for enhancing the learning of the software developing techniques and capabilities using an engineering approach, and to assure the knowledge and skills acquired by students were objectively and rightly assessed. The target of the project was the practice aspect using e-Portfolio as an evaluation tool. The project was accepted some months ago and we immediately kicked off working in a parallel way with the normal developing of the course. Tasks will finish on June 2010.
We present a running project with partial but promising results. In both student strategies of the course, a virtual classroom based on Moodle (the official platform provided by UJI) is used and complemented with the Mahara platform for managing students’ e-Portfolios and related resources. Students have delivered the first and second phases of their project in e-Portfolio format reaching a 70% of voluntary participation level (we set mandatory only the old delivering procedure in the virtual classroom). We reviewed randomly a sample of e-Portfolios obtaining acceptable marks in assessing projects.