Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit (banazir) wrote,
Banazîr the Jedi Hobbit

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Team Projects

prolog has been working on a team programming course that reminded me a little of a CIS 540/541 (Software Engineering) project here. It inspired me to issue the following invitation to all your programmers and CS/IT students:
Please tell me about your most interesting, pleasant, or stressful team programming experience.

Here is a rundown of team programming at Kansas State University's Department of Computing and Information Sciences:

I am the instructor for one course (CIS 690 - Implementation of High-Performance Data Mining Systems) where team projects (2-3 members per team) are allowed. I appoint a team leader (or the students elect one) and that person is responsible for overseeing load distribution and accounting for whether everyone has done his or her part. Now, most of the time, I've had grad students in the course, and sometimes they (both grad and undergrad) have "covered" for the slackers, but generally it's worked out all right.

Another team project course is our undergraduate software engineering capstone course, CIS 540. About 130 students take this course each fall (Computer Science and some tracks of Computer Engineering). Here I've heard stories to chill your blood, and others to warm the cockles of your heart. The standard team size is 5, and I understand that the team leader is appointed by the instructor rather than elected by the team members. The main thing that makes this course challenging is that luck of the draw frequently puts multiple hard workers, virtuoso coders, slackers, less competent (e.g., math or programming-challenged) students, or (on occasion) brilliant students on the same team.

Our department head has students in his parallel programming course report on the effort split between students (e.g., 10%/90%), and weights the grades accordingly. Theoretically, then, it is possible for two team members to turn in a successful project but for one to get an 'A' (4.0) and the other an 'F' (0.0). I've never heard of this happening, but apparently, different letter grades are common even when students' scores on other things in the course are similar.

To follow up: in addition to your stories (or in lieu thereof), please tell me a little about your instructor's policies, or your own if you are an instructor:

  • How many students are there in the course? On your team?

  • Does the instructor hold you accountable for individual performance and contribution? How or how not?

  • Has there been any disgruntlement? If so, how if at all, have you made this known to the slacking team members? To the ones who are picking up the slack (even if you are one of the slackers - post anonymously if you like)? To the instructor?

  • What response did (or do) you expect in each case?

  • How would you run the course and hold students accountable if you were the instructor?

Edit, 09:25 CDT Fri 07 May 2004: looks as if prolog is done with the project. Good job!

The End of Mellyn: Take a bow - well played, Friends. I'm going to miss this show despite myself.

Tangential observation: jellybeanzulu once said that on the web, you're only ever a few clicks away from 600-year old Swedish. Well, today I learned also that you are only ever a few clicks away from the Lakhota word for "pink". Hrm. Go fogure.


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