Academics' Experience of Teaching Open Ended Group Projects A phenomenographic study
2016 (English)In: 2016 IEEE FRONTIERS IN EDUCATION CONFERENCE (FIE), 2016Conference paper (Refereed)
An Open Ended Group Project (OEGP) is a distinguishable pedagogical tool, used by teachers in computing, engineering, and information technology courses. The tool contributes to the development of 'soft' skills essential for students' future career needs. This paper reports on a phenomenographic study that investigates the research question: What are the ways in which academics teaching Open Ended Group Projects experience teaching the course? Previous studies, using the phenomenographic research approach, have offered insights into academics' conceptions of science learning and teaching. However, there are no studies that investigate the experiences of teachers who use OEGP in their classes. This is the first study, that asks academics using an OEGP how they experience teaching these courses. Students enrolled in a course on computing education research conducted the small-scale study at Uppsala University, Sweden. In order to answer the research question, a theoretical sample was selected with a wide range of relevant population characteristics (e.g. background, prior experience, gender, and age). The semi -structured interview questions focused on understanding of OEGP, the learning objectives of OEGP, strategies for teaching these learning objectives, and the teacher's experience in teaching through OEGP. The results indicate that teachers see their role within OEGP as a coach and that the variation between experiences lies in what is intended to be coached. This variation is presented in a hierarchy (the outcome space). Categories focus on: the team, discipline, problem solving skills, learning and motivation. We also look at the first-hand experience of a student in an OEGP course and discuss the teachers' perceptions of students' experiences of OEGP. The implication for teaching is that a teacher needs to reconsider the way he or she teaches more often in OEGP than in regular courses. There are two reasons for this. First, teaching OEGP is based less on teaching content knowledge and more on teaching skills. Secondly, OEGP deals with a 'real problem', and aspects of the problem continuously change. Teachers are recommended to aim for reaching a higher category, indicating a deeper level of experience, and to use the experience of coaching OEGP in other courses as well. The importance of metacognition (reflection on action) and discussion with other teachers who have experience in teaching OEGP is highlighted.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers in Education Conference, ISSN 0190-5848
Open Ended Group Project (OEGP), teaching experience, phenomenography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-316348DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2016.7757474ISI: 000392331500132ISBN: 978-1-5090-1790-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-316348DiVA: diva2:1080737
IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), OCT 12-15, 2016, Gannon Univ, Erie, PA