TEACHING COLLABORATIVE WEB TOOLS AT UNIVERSITY: DOES IT HELP STUDENTS TO BE COMPETITIVE IN THE LABOR MARKET?
According to the Software Engineering Computing Curricula , students should engage in effective cooperative working and group learning, which have an increased prominence in the curriculum. Computer engineering students, therefore, need to learn the mechanics and dynamics of effective team participation as part of their undergraduate studies. The authors believe that because of the demand for collaborative web portals in business; the existing initiatives like the ones proposed by Microsoft , IBM , Borland , etc., which empower collaborative technology and following the Computing Curriculum Software Engineering (CCSE)  recommendation, students should be trained in the use of tools that foster collaborative skills and prepare them for the labor market.
To achieve these goals, the authors used an innovative teaching method that summarizes the behavior and key concepts of a collaborative tool with the Unified Model Language (UML), through two software engineering techniques: use cases and sequence diagrams . The objective is to provide students with collaborative skills that will help them apply the software engineering methods in their daily tasks and increase productivity.
The lecturers selected the collaborative tool, Microsoft SharePoint Server because of its integration with Microsoft Office System . This is perhaps the most common office automation tool used that provides a familiar environment with lower probabilities of student rejection. The tool also permits full customization if a special function is needed, due to its extension capability .
To validate the assumptions the authors made, a survey was conducted on 87 former students, taking into account the personal experience of each student deploying the knowledge and skills acquired in the subject called "Application of New Technologies in the Enterprise" taught in the BSc. Computer Engineering degree program at Carlos III University.
This work will be structured as follows. Section one will illustrate the collaborative web portal concept, and its background. Section two will describe current collaborative web portal tools in the market. Section three will present a collaborative work experience in the above-mentioned subject at Carlos III University. Section four will show the results obtained from a survey on 87 students’ opinions on the way collaborative skills have helped them professionally. Finally, in section five the authors will describe the future lines of work and will present their conclusions regarding the main features of actual collaborative web portals and the consequences for students’ professional life using collaborative web portals management skills.
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