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1. CERG Projects
CERG members are involved in many kinds of projects in the general area of computing education. Projects may be technical solutions to problems, e.g. a system for detecting plagiarism, or a teaching tool to simulate a process. They may use surveys to analyse student perceptions and attitudes, e.g. to plagiarism or the use of a teaching tool. They may evaluate the effectiveness of a teaching tool or an interactive website or online delivery in general.
2. Current projects
2.1 Quick Links to Separate Pages
2.2 Changing the Culture of Teaching and Learning in ICT and Engineering
The purpose of this project is to build teaching leadership, initially in the disciplines of Engineering and ICT, to enhance learning and teaching through leadership capacity-building at the institutional level. More specifically this project seeks to raise the profile and encourage recognition of the fundamental importance of teaching in the professoriate. It will also facilitate the transfer of the practices and the project model developed within the Engineering and ICT domains to other disciplines and universities.
The rationale is that the development of Teaching and Learning (T&L) leadership “from scratch” is problematical - social science research indicates that it is more promising to transfer skills which already exist in a different context (Boden, 2006; Perkins & Salomon, 1992). In Australian universities there are many Professors who have been promoted because of their leadership in research (rather than teaching) and these Professors have developed valuable leadership skills in their roles. These Professors have much to offer in T&L leadership, and this project seeks to tap this potential. Because this project focuses on increasing the engagement of the Australian Professoriate in T&L leadership, it gives much needed attention to the "research-teaching nexus".
There is a need to translate the leadership skills of "scholarship of discovery" into "scholarship of teaching". At the minimum, this is seen as a need to articulate the key research question of defining an epistemology of teaching quality, and exploring methods to improve it. In so doing it will promote a much more balanced and effective leadership within the higher educational sector.
There is a Moodle Page which describes work in progress, but this is restricted to project members.
Outcomes from the project
2.3 IVEE: Intelligent Virtual Educational Environment
This project is a refinement of the PIAVEE project (see below). The functionalities of the PIAVEE prototype are preserved, but a significant shift in the design goals necessitated a change of name.
The focus of IVEE is to adapt the PIAVEE project to make the software more aware of its environment, and to provide specific functionality concomitant to that environment. For example, one application domain is in low-cost, low-bandwidth environments such as pertain in developing countries. IVEE seeks to provide an adaptable framework that will realise a user-interface similar to that offered by the OCPC (One Computer Per Child) project in the low-bandwidth environment, while still providing a fully functional, flexible learning environment in high-tech environments such as modern western universities.
CERG members involved in this project: John Hurst, Shonali Krishaswamy and Selby Markham
More information is available at the IVEE website
2.4 PIAVEE: Platform Independent Agent-based Virtual Educational Environment
The primary objective of this project is to create a prototype of a virtual education environment using agent technology as the management system.
CERG members involved in this project: John Hurst, Des Casey, Shonali Krishaswamy and Selby Markham
More information is available at the PIAVEE website
2.5 UIMA Award: Enabling a Scalable and Intelligent Distributed Repository of Learning Objects
This project is a derivative from the PIAVEE project. The following outline is taken from the award announcement,
The project is based upon work done by the Computing Education Research Group (CERG) in relation to the Platform Independent Agent-based Virtual Educational Environment (PIAVEE) project, which seeks to develop a learning management system that is "pedagogically agnostic" (forces no particular learning method), and provides support for multiple campus teaching.
While focussed upon teaching, the system can be used in a wide range of collaborative contexts, and it is is these contexts that are to be addressed by the IBM project. There is widespread recognition that proprietary, presentational document structures prevent the broader dissemination of knowledge, and in an effort to promote the use of open source software, IBM is sponsoring this bid to develop information architectures that focus upon content, not form. Our project will develop the architecture of PIAVEE to support data mining within learning objects that follow no particular pedagogy or technology.
2.6 Managing Educational Change in the ICT Discipline at the Tertiary Education Level
Carrick Discipline-Based Initiatives scheme - ICT Discipline Funding: $250,000
This Discipline-Based ICT project, funded by the Carrick Institute, is concerned with the nature and dynamics of change within the broad ICT discipline from the perspective of educational preparation in high schools, the university experience, employment, and on-going professional development at all levels. The project is cross-institutional, involving the University of Wollongong, Monash University, University of Technology, Sydney and Queensland University of Technology.
Monash project team: Ron Weber, Judy Sheard, Angela Carbone, Kim Styles
The Perceptions project was aimed at ascertaining how the perceptions of incoming students affected their university experience. Students were surveyed at the start and end of their first semester at university, and a number were interviewed. Where students agreed to be identified, the survey results were compared with their results at the end of the semester.
A report of the study has been published, and a paper is to be presented at the 2008 Australian Computing Education (ACE) Conference.
2.8 Bracelet Project
The BRACElet project involves experiments to investigate the difference in the way educators and students solve small program comprehension problems; using the SOLO taxonomy to describe the differences. The research has been conducted by studying the exam scripts for introductory programming students, in which specific questions are analyzed using the SOLO taxonomy. Findings to date show that most educators gravitate to solving problems in a relational manner, whereas students use a lower level multistructural approach. Further investigations have shown that many students still provide multistructural responses; students are relatively consistent in the SOLO level of their answers; student responses on SOLO reading tasks correlate positively with performance on writing tasks; postgraduates students manifest a higher level of thinking than undergraduates.The project is a collaborative one involving many institutions.
3. Past projects
3.1 RELOS : REusable Learning Object Systems
The ReLos system was funded by the Centre for Higher Education Development, and had as its brief an evaluation of various forms of re-usable learning object systems both within Monash, and external to the university, particularly at other major Australian universities.
3.2 PEDANT : Pedagogical agents for modelling on-line and computer-interactive learning
The Pedant Project is investigating the relationship between
the way students use on-line and interactive educational tools
and the quality of their learning experience through the
development of agent-oriented software tools. The project
involves collaboration between Monash and Melbourne
Funded by the Melbourne/Monash Committee for Collaboration in Educational Technologies.
More information is available at: http://cerg.csse.monash.edu.au/pedant/
3.3 Developing strategies to foster acceptable work practices amongst undergraduate students
The aim of this project is to design and develop a curriculum for undergraduate students from the Faculty of Information Technology (FIT) to fully inform them of work practices that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable. This will build on findings of the research studies conducted in 2000 and 2001 and an international working group held in 2002 that investigated the attitudes to, and knowledge of, student cheating amongst IT academic staff across six institutions in four countries.
Chief Investigator: Martin Dick, Mentor:
More information on background work to this project is available at: http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~mdick/ITICSEWorkingGroup/index.html
3.4 ViSION: Visualisation of Student Interactions Online
The aim of this project is to design and develop a visualisation tool, ViSION that can be used to explore the navigation behaviour of website users. The tool will have broad application in commercial and educational fields; however, in this project it will be used to investigate student usage of educational courseware websites. Building upon previous research, this tool will enable the development of pedagogical models of students working in electronic environments.
Judy Sheard and David Albrecht
ICT-Ed was an AUTC (Australian University Teaching Committee) funded research project that investigated learning outcomes and curriculum development in major disciplines in information and communication technologies (ICT). The first stage of this project was completed in November 2001; the second stage was completed at the end of 2002.
The final report for Stage 1 of this project titled: "Teaching ICT: The report on learning outcomes and curriculum development in major university disciplines in Information and Communication Technology" is available at http://www.autc.gov.au/pr/ict/split_ict.htm
The website developed as part of Stage 2 is at http://cerg.csse.monash.edu.au/icted/ICTedStage1Final.pdf
The Evaluation website developed as a part of Stage 2 is at http://cerg.csse.monash.edu.au/evaluation/
The avatar was developed by John Hurst during his term as Associate Dean (Teaching) as a tool to encourage academics to take more responsibility for the pedagogic quality of the units that they teach. It did this by placing the authority to update and maintain unit descriptions with the academics delivering the unit, rather than administrative staff. You can read more information about the avatar (aka "MonAtar") in MonAtar: The Monash Unit Description Avatar', A.J.Hurst, International Conference on Computers in Education, Hong Kong, Dec 2003.
Researching the Size and Scope of Online Usage in the Vocational Education and Training Sector was an NCVER (National Centre for Vocational Education Research) funded project that investigated online learning in the TAFE sector. The project was completed in December 2001.
The final report for Stage 1 of this project is available at http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/963.html
3.8 Student Cheating within the Higher Education Sector
This research has investigated tertiary students' attitudes towards, and the prevalence of, cheating and plagiarism and their motivation for engaging in cheating practices. The research began in 2000 with students in the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Monash University and was extended to two other faculties within Monash and Swinburne Universities.
In 2002 the project continued with an investigation of staff attitudes to this problem. An international Working Group held at the Innovation and Technology in Computer Science conference (ItiCSE 2002) in 2002 examined the issues of cheating and plagiarism amongst computer science and information technology students at Universities in four countries.x
Planned outcomes of this research are to build a Web resource to educate students and to provide academic staff with a range of practices they can use to reduce, detect and respond to cheating. This research is continuing.
Information about this research can be found at http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~mdick/ITICSEWorkingGroup/index.html
3.9 PASE / PASEWeb
Personal Assistant for Software Engineers (PASE) version 4 is a tool developed by the School of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Monash University, Australia. It is designed to assist students in the recording of metrics for software engineering projects. This tool was developed with funding a Teaching Innovation grant from the Faculty of Information Technology.
3.10 Java Resources
This project was funded by a Teaching Innovation grant from Faculty of Information Technology. The project involved the development of a set of core resources for first year programming units using Java.
The resources that have been developed include:
These resources may be viewed at http://www-flite.infotech.monash.edu.au/html/ainslie_java_resources.htm
3.11 Evaluation of BlueJ
(No information currently available)