The development of communication and other soft skills among computer science students is not usually an easy task. Often, curricula focus on technical skills, with team projects being used for the improvement of communication skills. However, these teams usually comprise solely of computer science students. In this paper, we present a didactical methodology, called MIMI, which can be used in a short, intensive, programme for undergraduate students. This methodology has been implemented in real projects that have run annually since 2014. We advocate the use of team-based projects, with an important requirement that each team is both multidisciplinary and multinational. Additionally, the period of teamwork is short and intensive. A significant role in the project is given to team mentors. A mentor is a person, usually a university lecturer, who helps the team organize their work and tracks if the team’s planned didactical results are being achieved. The program has proved to stimulate an increase of soft skills among the students who participated and, in particular, among the computer science students. The detailed description of our process will allow others to implement and build similar events in their university or company environments, the focus of which is a Multinational, Intercultural, Multidisciplinary & Intensive (MIMI) methodology approach.
This paper considers the use of log data provided by learning management systems when studying whether students obey the problem-based learning (PBL) method. Log analysis turns out to be a valuable tool in measuring the use of the learning material of interest. It gives reliable figures concerning not only the number of use sessions but also the interlocking of various course activities. The longitudinal study based on log analysis makes use of a new software tool, SPY US. Our study concentrates on using log data analysis in improving the PBL method used in learning diagnostic skills with the help of Virtual Patients.
Contests are usually applied in the academic environment to simulate real professional situations that require from the participants a more pro-active attitude than the one shown in conventional coursework. Although they are commonly applied in the scope of a unique course, the contest described here was an extracurricular experience applied in an Information System undergraduate program. The evaluation of the contest is also presented; the objective was to assess the role of the contest as a tool to bring together interdisciplinary subjects, complementary to the traditional disciplinary structure of the program curriculum. The results indicate that a significant portion of the participants noticed increase in their knowledge after the contest, which is verified by statistical tests. However, students from the first stages received more benefits, probably because such students were more motivated and had more available time to be involved in the contest activities.
We have applied Problem-Based Learning (PBL) on an introductory programming course for several years with positive results. In this paper we present the outcomes and discuss our experiences of applying a modified version of PBL such that needs less tutoring resources and could better be used in large-scale courses, too.
PBL has many positive effects on studying: Students report that they liked the social aspect of studying in a group. Generally students appreciated the possibility to be active participants in a course. On the other hand, group dynamic difficulties, tolerance of uncertainty and demanding studying skills caused problems that were too hard to overcome to some students. In this paper we introduce different versions of PBL, discuss efficiently and inefficiently working PBL groups and present their characters. We also discuss the possible reasons for differently working groups. Finally, we give some suggestions for interventions that might help the PBL groups to work better.
The article examines update of modules of general IT (Informatics) studies under changes in secondary school programs. It is proposed to create distance-learning courses and use ``tools set'' principles. It will allow broadening the choice of study subjects and will create possibility for students from different faculties to choose the subjects and realization tools that better meet their needs and fields of studies. The developed materials will be available to all students and staff willing to improve IT skills through distance learning. Tasks and knowledge control will be unified in the whole University. The materials of updated Informatics courses will be presented in a virtual learning environment WebCT, including self-control tasks and tests. This will also be very useful for correspondence students.