Conference Paper

Student Assessment in PBL-Based Teaching Computing: Proposals and Results

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Abstract

This Research Full Paper presents an overview of student assessment proposals for Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Computing Education. Computing teaching has many challenges, as it requires different skills from students, often subjective and difficult to assess. In fact, technical knowledge alone is not enough to fully understand what is being taught, but the interpretive and logical skills to deal with practical problems and non-technical skills such as group work, creativity, critical vision, ability to cooperate and communicate. Active learning methodologies as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) have been used to dealing with such challenges, broadly developing technical and non-techniques skills in students. However, despite the benefits of PBL, the student assessment process is one of the points that present its own adversities and, therefore, an aspect that deserves greater attention. To better understand the nuances of this process and how it can contribute to the teaching and learning process based on PBL, this study aimed to investigate primary studies in the last two decades, seeking answers to the following research questions: RQ1) What assessment models are being used?; RQ2) Which aspects are evaluated?; RQ3) What criteria and media have been defined?; RQ4) Who gets involved in the assessment process?; RQ5) What is the ideal frequency to conduct the evaluations?; RQ6) What can these models reveal? As a research method, this study used the Systematic Literature Review method proposed by Kitchenham. As main conclusions, it was possible to identify that: generally, computing education based on PBL occurs at the undergraduate level, having as main educational objective the teaching of technical content; in practice, the need for a diverse teaching team is not reflected, the traditional student-teacher remains; to evaluate students, it is necessary to consider several aspects, technical and non-technical, defining specific criteria for each one of them; the main benefits for students are related to changes in behavior, development of soft skills and better absorption of technical knowledge; as main challenges for students, the difficulty to understand the nuances of the proposed problem and to be the main responsible for devising a solution for it without the figure of a teacher to give a clear definition of how to do it stands out.

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Teaching Computer has led to the design of an educational model that is increasingly making use of market practices linked to business corporations. Within this scenario, a practical and dynamic learning system is being fostered that allows simulations to be carried out in real contexts through problem resolution. Based on constructivist theories, PBL (Problem-Based Learning) is a teaching method that is focused on the students and its main characteristic is that it uses real-world problems to create the learning content and teach the skills required for their solution. However, the adoption of this approach is not an easy task, since it is accompanied by abrupt changes in the traditional paradigm of education, which require changes in the attitudes of the actors involved. In addition, the planning and monitoring of the PBL, involve complex activities that are difficult to manage, especially with regard to determining the quality and compliance of the processes used for problem resolution. Additionally, the Computer Science courses require working on projects provided by real clients, within a dynamic and iterative development process. This strengthens the need to introduce strategies and technologies to support the implementation and management of the method and, enable its effectiveness to be monitored In addition, it provides continuous feedback, and assesses the results generated from the evaluation of the solutions produced during the teaching-learning process. Thus, it is essential to adopt strategies that allow a better management of teaching practice, improved learning by the students and a means of validating the clients involved. From this perspective, this paper presents a virtual teaching and learning environment, called PBLMaestro, which has been designed to support the workflow of a methodology for the implementation of PBL in teaching Computer Science, called xPBL. With the aid of xPBL, it is possible to perform the management of courses using the dynamics of a cycle and series of stages to allow a better control of management processes, by linking real problems to well-defined educational goals. In the case of teacher planning, we were used elements described in xPBL methodology, aligned with educational goals defined from the Bloom Revised Taxonomy. With regard to student tracking, we used the authentic assessment model and mechanisms of Learning Analytics. Gamification strategies were included to increase engagement, retention and motivation, and push notification messages were displayed in a mobile application the PBLMaestro was validated by means of application the environment in the context of the discipline “Network Design” of Computer Science Course, and the results are analyzed in this study. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers and there was a high degree of satisfaction among the tutors, students and customers who used the service, with regard to the usability and consistency of the proposed environment as well as with its improvements and changes. Although the environment was improved in the area of computer science, it is possible that it can provide support to the STEM context with some customizations.
Conference Paper
Ensuring satisfactory results by using problem-based learning in education in the Computing area is challenging. Faithfully maintaining the philosophy of PBL requires not only full compliance with its principles but also that its processes are managed efficiently. To facilitate the adoption of PBL, especially as to managing its processes, this article puts forward a framework based on Demig's PDCA cycle. The framework highlights its ability to re-use artifacts and recommends models for the stages of planning, implementation, monitoring and corrective actions. Special attention is paid to the components that are essential to the framework: xPBL methodology, maturity models, such as PBL-Test and valuation models, and authentic assessment. Results on the applicability of the framework during an under-graduate modular Computing course are also presented.
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The problem-based learning (PBL) approach has been successfully applied to teaching software engineering thanks to its principles of group work, learning by solving real problems, and learning environments that match the market realities. However, the lack of well-defined methodologies and processes for implementing the PBL approach represents a major challenge. The approach requires great flexibility and dynamism from all involved, whether in mapping content, in teacher performance, or laying out the process of how learners should go about solving problems. This paper suggests that management processes can help in implementing PBL throughout its life cycle (planning, implementation, monitoring, and enhancement), and proposes an assessment model called PBL-SEE for use in software engineering education (SEE). Two examples of its use are provided. The results show how the model can be applied and how the resulting information can be used to make the PBL initiatives "authentic," in that they bring the reality of the labor market to the learning environment, while keeping to PBL principles.
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In order to obtain a holistic view of students' contribution, self-assessment and peer-assessment are often used in addition to teacher assessment to arrive at the overall course grade of a student in Problem Based Learning (PBL). However, the relevance of student-based assessment in deciding the final grade can be open to questions. Although the literature suggests student-based assessment is useful and appropriate for evaluating skills in PBL, students and teachers' have different perceptions, leading to differing viewpoints in assessments. Also, the correlation between students assessment grades (self and peer) and teacher assessment has been inconclusive. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify differences and similarities between self-assessment, peer-assessment and teacher assessment scores. A group of students who were undergoing PBL were the participants for the study which was part of a larger quasi-experimental study. The scope of this study is limited to team-working skills that were assessed using self-report, peer-report and teacher's ratings. Students in both groups were asked to provide confidential assessment on their friends as well as of themseleves.The data analysis results indicate that students tend to give similar scores to selves and peers,which are much higher than what were given by their teacher. An association was also found between self and peer assessment scores but not between teacher's and students' assessment scores. In conclusion, students differ from teachers in their assessment of team-working skills which could provide evidence supporting for the inclusion of students-based assessment scores in deciding the overall grade of a student.
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Teacher-centered has been traditionally playing the role of basic teaching method for long time. In this way, students only perceive and learn subject’s content from the class and this seems that they only remember the content for taking an exam. On the other hand, when the time comes to solve the real problems, they usually find difficulty to accomplish, due to lacking of practical experience. Basic programming skills are compulsory factor for students in Information Technology (IT) field. Only memorizing content knowledge is not adequate for learning further programming subjects. Students should practice the actual work by themselves for comprehensive understanding. This study represents teaching processes applied problem-based learning technique, both learning directions and communications between lecturer and student. Freshmen of Computer Programming subject, School of IT, Mae Fah Luang University are a target group of this empirical study.
Article
This study investigates a Problem based learning framework (PBL) which focuses on how to improve the software design and development skills, in collaboration with the industrial firms. The empirical study was conducted with the first year students learning at the School of Information Technology, in Mae Fah Luang University, Thailand. The results of this study indicate that the PBL framework as a learning environment is to provide students with knowledge that matches with the industrial requirement. Through an industrial cooperation the PBL program encourages student development by being self-directed and fostering collaborative learning skills. Evidence of the positive results of this PBL framework has been provided.
Conference Paper
Given the demand in the area of Software Engineering for solutions that actually contribute to modern organizations, the search for qualified professionals who have considerable practical experience has been growing day-by-day. Set against this background is the learning process of traditional teaching, in which the Student is largely a mere recipient of information, including concepts and theoretical foundations, and is seldom given practice in problem solving. Therefore with a view to minimizing this problem, teaching and learning methods such as the Problem Based Learning (PBL) have emerged in higher education as an approach to foster changes in teaching and learning processes, which are aligned to the new requirements of the labor market and redefine the roles of those involved in educational processes. To evaluate these processes, a case study on skills training to teach Usability Testing is discussed, and important results presented that show the applicability of the proposed approach for teaching Software Engineering.
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In the practice of teaching reform of computer programming course, considering the property of computer programming course that it is sophisticated and hard to learn, the author takes the method of problem-based learning and suitably arranges the course design, which with a good result not only improves the quality of teaching, but also trains students' ability of self-learning, active exploration and mutual cooperation. In this paper, the author's practice and experience in the application of problem-based learning in computer programming course teaching will be discussed.
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Problem-based learning is a popular approach in the medical profession constructivist teaching model. In this paper, the problem-based learning teaching mode is analyzed and is applied into teaching operating system course. We design problem-based teaching and learning projects, investigate the arising key problems in the teaching practice, and propose some thought of reforming Operating Systems course teaching using problem-based learning mode.
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In a problem-based learning (PBL) environment, students work in groups on real-life problems and have the opportunity to determine for themselves what they need to learn in the relevant subject area(s). A common feature of problem-based learning is to provide students with a range of resources that assist them in solving the problems. This paper attempts to classify resources according to the educational functions and activities for which they will be used. It also discusses communication patterns, assessment, and evaluation with respect to problem-based learning. Finally, it presents two case studies, one that illustrates a progression of problem development within the PBL environment and one that describes a practical application of PBL, with appropriate use of resources, for a first-year course in Java.
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Problem-based learning (PBL) is apprenticeship for real-life problem solving, helping students acquire the knowledge and skills required in the workplace. Although the acquisition of knowledge and skills makes it possible for performance to occur, without self-efficacy the performance may not even be attempted. I examined how student self-efficacy, as it relates to being software development professionals, changed while involved in a PBL environment. Thirty-one undergraduate university computer science students completed a 16-week capstone course in software engineering during their final semester prior to graduation. Specific instructional strategies used in PBL—namely the use of authentic problems of practice, collaboration, and reflection—are presented as the catalyst for students' improved self-efficacy. Using a self-efficacy scale as pre-and postmeasures, and guided journal entries as process data, students were observed to increase their levels of self-efficacy.
Conference Paper
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) could help to change students' learning mode, and to change the teacher-centered philosophy of education to student-centered. This article described a PBL mode under the guidance of instruction system design, constructivism learning theory , Brunner's discovery method and PBL pedagogy. Software engineering course was taken as the example to illustrate the implementation of the PBL model. Questionnaire was administered to the students, and the results were generally positive. PBL could help students develop the abilities to think critically and analyze complex problems; to find, evaluate, and use appropriate resources; to work in teams; and to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.