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|Title:||Teaching tools as teaching tools: contextualised authentic learning examples|
|Citation:||Proceedings of the 23rd Australasian Association for Engineering Education Annual Conference: the Profession of Engineering Education - Advancing Teaching, Research and Careers, held in Melbourne, 3-5 December, 2012 / L. Mann and S. Daniel (eds.): pp. 744-752|
|Conference Name:||Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference (23rd : 2012 : Melbourne, Victoria)|
|Nickolas J.G. Falkner and Katrina Falkner|
|Abstract:||BACKGROUND: Authentic learning examples are a well-established motivation and engagement tool for Software Engineering students. Numerous studies identify the use of industry case studies, software tools and current media stories as appropriate sources for authentic learning examples within the curricula. Assessment requirements dictate that we must carefully select real-world problems that have a known completion time or, when multiple problems are used across different groups, well-defined levels of difficulty. Where we can, and do, use project-type courses we can readily integrate industryassociated projects and other authentic problems, but this is still not of benefit to the majority of students. Contemporary teaching activities often require a large percentage of faculty to be involved in the development or selection of learning management systems, teaching tools and teaching support systems as part of their day-to-day work: the staff are immersed in an authentic design, selection and production environment that is, effectively, shielded from the students. PURPOSE: In this paper we examine the use of software tools from the student learning environment as a source for contextualised learning examples, in terms of their ability to add authenticity to the learning experience, and assist academics in efficiently sourcing relevant learning examples. DESIGN/METHOD: We present an experience report, demonstrating the use of authentic learning examples from the immediate student environment, presenting a specific example of a mobile assessment tool. We demonstrate how this tool can be used to provide multiple, authentic learning examples for a range of Software Engineering topics, from introductory to advanced topics. RESULTS: In this paper, we demonstrate the development of the PracMarker teaching tool - a mobile application used to manage laboratory-based assessment - and its use as an authentic example throughout a range of introductory and advanced courses. Students are exposed to the PracMarker teaching tool from their first week of studies, and quickly become familiar with its operation and limitations, making it an ideal example for later courses. We are able to leverage the design and architecture of the PracMarker teaching tool to support the development of authentic examples for a range of Software Engineering topics; in this paper, demonstrating examples and exploring the student experience for data modeling, mobile and wireless networks, computer and network security, distributed systems and software architecture. Our multiple examples illustrate not only the wide range of authentic learning examples that may be extracted from these kinds of tools, but also the process of learning that results from such integration. CONCLUSIONS: Our initial work with this tool-as-tool has very quickly identified the gaps between a student’s first statements of “Well, surely, we can do...”, their transition to a more constructive “perhaps if I try…” and their mature comprehension of the issues raised by the question, in this context, leading to statements such as “within these constraints, and to solve this problem, I would undertake these actions”. We do not present PracMarker as a “gold standard” technology for first-year practical assignment marking but as a valid and authentic development procedure that we have been through and that, warts and all, we expose to the students to efficiently provide an authentic experience to contextualise and extend their knowledge.|
|Keywords:||Teaching tools; authentic learning experiences; software engineering|
|Rights:||© 2012 Australasian Association for Engineering Education|
|Appears in Collections:||Computer Science publications|
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