According to the United Nations’ sustainable development goals education has a central role and progress has been made to offer a quality educational lifelong learning path to all. Unfortunately, recent crises, namely the pandemic and wars, have hampered progress and a prompt recovery is mandatory. Similarly, OECD recommendations on creating better opportunities for young people1 addressing key areas such as: ensuring relevant knowledge and allowing to develop appropriate skills and competencies; supporting youth in the transition to the labor market; promoting social inclusion. In this regard computing is considered important with a central role both as a discipline “per se” and as a supporting cognitive tool for all knowledge domains. The informatics reference framework for schools (Caspersen, 2022) offers a solid foundation, as does the STEM teaching framework (Tasiopoulou, 2022). Considering the current shortage in computing and information technology professionals and the projected need of a highly skilled workforce with increasing cognitive competencies, the importance of a quality lifelong education, including computing, is considered mandatory. An alliance between the educational system, from school to universities both formal and informal, and the Information Technology (IT) sectors has the potential for a win-win collaboration offering a more focused education with the right mix of foundational competencies and cutting-edge technical skills. Supporting all learners in improving their education by offering both quality content, pedagogies, technologies, and financial support is of highest importance and should be considered central to any organization’s corporate social responsibility agenda. In this respect the guest editors would like to rise a call for action for an even greater collaboration between the whole educational system and etenterprises with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of young people who are neither employed nor in education and training. The work for this special issue has been embraced with the aim to contributing with a grain of sand in this direction.
This special issue offers a variegated view of collaborations between academia and the commercial sector. The first group of papers deals with live educational experiences designed and developed with industries.
The objective of this article is to present the creation process of Pedagogical Strategies (PS) based on Socio-affective Scenarios mapped in a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Every year, enterprises are looking for new technologies that can improve the skills of their collaborators, bringing VLE resources to e-training formations. The PSs are actions carried out by professors or manager in their practice, both for e-learning and e-training. In order to develop a PS, it is important to consider the socio-affective profile. For data inference were used: Social and Affective Map. Using these two tools, 38 Socio-affective Scenarios were mapped and their strategies were developed. This study utilizes an applied qualitative approach. As a result, a total of 228 PSs based on Socio-affective Scenarios were developed by 15 specialist professors. Its main contribution is the creation of PS based on criteria that can be adapted to be applied in the industry context.
The misalignment between the skills learned in tertiary education and the skills demanded by industry is well documented. One of the ways this misalignment can be reduced is through the introduction of an internship phase in degrees. This article identifies the perceived benefits and challenges that internship programmes offer academic staff in a tertiary educational facility. It also determines how feedback from the industry helps shape the curriculum of the degree. A qualitative case study is employed through interviews with various staff working at a tertiary education institution. The data generated is analysed using a thematic approach. The results show that internships not only place value on soft skills but also build a communication channel between the mentors that visit students whilst out on placement and the industry staff that oversee the students during the work-based phase. This mutually beneficial interaction between the industry and the education institution helps the mentors maintain familiarity with the latest technologies adopted in the industry and allows the industry to influence the curriculum of the degrees. Internships were shown to offer a means of advertising the skills gained in academia to the audience that would eventually employ the graduates.
Scrum is a widely-used framework in industry, so many schools apply it to their software engineering courses, particularly capstone courses. Due to the differences between students and industrial professionals, changing Scrum is necessary to fit capstone projects. In this paper, we suggest a decision-making process to assist instructors in developing a strategy to adapt Scrum for their course. This framework considers critical differences, such as student’s workloads and course schedules, and keeps the Agile principles and Scrum events. To evaluate the adapted Scrum, we investigated student’s learning experiences, satisfaction, and performance by quantitatively analyzing user story points and source codes and qualitatively studying instructor’s evaluations, student’s feedback, and Sprint Retrospective notes. Our two case studies about adapted Scrum showed that having daily stand-up meetings in every class was not helpful, student’s satisfaction positively correlated to the difficulty of the task they tackled, and the project provided good learning experiences.
We describe a collaboration between Marelli and Università degli Studi di Milano that allowed the latter to add a course on «Architectures for Big Data» in its Master programme of Computer Science, with the aim of providing a teaching approach characterized by an intertwined exposition of discipline, methodology and practical tools. We were motivated by the need of filling, at least in part, the gap between the expectation of employers and the competences acquired by students. Indeed, several big-data-related tools and patterns of widespread use in working environments are seldom taught in the academic context. The course also allowed to expose students to company-related processes and topics. So far, the course has been taught for two editions, and a third one is currently ongoing. Using both a quantitative and a qualitative approach, we show that students appreciated this new form of learning activities, in terms of enrollments, exam marks, and activated external theses. We also exploited the received feedback in order to slightly modify the content and the structure of the course.
The rapid development of technology in today’s times make business’ survival a rather complex task. It is therefore necessary for the specialized organization and administration of each company to differentiate and strengthen its competitive advantages. Gamification is an established practice in many business domains and can enforce employees to engage in business processes and change aspects of their behavior. Even though numerous gamification patterns that are described in literature have been used so far by businesses to various working environments, the outcomes were not the best possible that we would expect in terms of their right utilization to business non-game contexts. Thus, there is need for concise gamification patterns that can offer right guidance to game designers in business. Gamification design patterns can provide a distilled knowledge of techniques of how to design object-oriented software. This paper aims to address this gap in existing literature by describing new gamification design patterns, classifying them according to specific criteria and providing new information to this research domain. Our study is a descriptive literature review and is based on review of previous works. This descriptive literature review tries to give a better understanding by proposing new gamification design patterns in the continuously evolving research domain of gamification design patterns.
The purpose of this study is to develop a valid and reliable “Education 4.0 Competency Determination” scale. The study was conducted in two sessions: In the first session, exploratory factor analysis was applied to 308 students, and then a confirmatory factor analysis was applied to another group and conducted with 172 students. As a result, a scale consisting of 21 items and three- factors was obtained. The internal consistency coefficient of the first factor, which is mastery of digital technology, was α = .925 using the Cronbach’s Alpha formula and .921 using the Guttman’s Split-half method; the internal consistency coefficient of the second factor, which is information management, was α = .880 and .884 according to Guttman’s Split-half method while the internal consistency coefficient of the third factor, which is active participation in the process, was α = .802 according to the Cronbach’s Alpha formula and .783 according to the Guttman’s Split-half method.
Preparing students for the workforce is a balancing act that involves theory, practice, and assessment. As students navigate an educational experience that is, however, often distant from real-world needs, it is imperative that academia finds a novel way to bridge the gap. As many organizations utilize open challenges to attract ideas and talent, academia can easily create such bridge, leading to greater engagement, greater student preparation, and a potential employment pipeline. This paper describes the experience of our students and faculty advisors who participated to the NASA SUITS (Spacesuit User Interface Technologies for Students) Design Challenge. In particular, we review the pedagogical value of the solution that they created and the changes that were implemented in the curriculum of an undergraduate degree program in Information Technology. This open-source, multi-year project is also a flexible platform that can be utilized for engagement in K-12 education as well as graduate research projects.
The aim of this study was to determine the predispositions of the studied groups of students to work in the IT sector. The basis for predisposition assessment was their voluntary self-assessment of certain preferences, which are related to the theory of multiple intelligences of Professor Gardner. The study was conducted on a reference group of IT sector employees, assuming that they will be the model, to which the results of the study will be related. The method used to obtain data about the students’ predispositions was a test carried out in an auditorium mode or online. More than 500 students from several countries were surveyed and interesting statistical material was obtained allowing for comparison between groups. The most important result was to find a way to sort the students into groups in order from most similar in their aptitude to the market pattern to least. This made it possible to determine the boundary beyond which students could be considered selected for a job in the IT sector. Statistical hypotheses about the similarity of the student groups to the reference group were verified. The results were both positive, confirming that a large percentage of students have predispositions to work in the IT market, and less promising. The authors are convinced that the method can be applied all over the world, as they examined groups in very diverse countries, taking into account, for example, location, education system, culture or religion.