Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Incorporating Industry into the Curriculum

Ryan Kirwan,
Singapore Institute of Technology
Greetings from Yogyakarta, at the IEEE TALE 2019 engineering education conference, where Ryan Kirwan, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is speaking on "Incorporating Industry into the Curriculum: Applied Learning in Computer Science". Ryan described how they have students undertake team projects for industry. 
"Abstract— Singapore Institute of Technology’s (SIT) Integrative Team Project (ITP) uses Applied Learning to expose student teams to industry’s cutting-edge projects and industry-ready evaluation, combined with academic supervision and assessment. Industry propose projects that fulfil real industrial needs, while SIT ensures projects meet students’ academic learning objectives. ITP affords students an integration of theory and practice coupled with the acquisition of specialist knowledge and development of professional skills in their respective industry. This paper serves as a case study, beginning with the pedagogical underpinnings, moving through the
various assessments and evaluations, and finishing with a discussion of issues encountered with corresponding preventions and mitigations. The aim is to provide a blueprint for course organization and assessment that incorporates academic excellence with industrial relevance."

This is similar to the ANU TechLauncher program, which I help teach. Students work in teams of about five, with an academic supervisor, and someone from industry. The teams submit project work, including details of who in the team is doing what. Students also produce an individual reflection, which they then provide peer feedback and a mark for. There is then marking of the team project work by the staff. There is then the problem of consistency between different markers. This is addressed at SIT by having the markers meet and come to a consensus. I suggest this consensus building activity is unnecessary and harmful.

Different assessors, be they students, or trained professional educators, will come up with different marks for the same student work. This is difficult for students to accept, but is inherent to the assessment process. For ANU TechLauncher students this year we had students peer assess each others reflective work, Each student assessed three (first semester), or four (second semester), reflective works. The Learning Management System calculated the average. In general, the result were consistent. If there was a wide spread of marks, or the result was not consistent with the studnt's previous work, this was remarked by staff.

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