Agile In Teaching Learning Process


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Dr. Venkatesh Kamat experience of using Agile in the education process. It was presented at the Agile Goa 2008 conf

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Agile In Teaching Learning Process

  1. 1. Agile: In teaching learning process V. V. Kamat Goa University [email_address]
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Why agile in Education? </li></ul><ul><li>Motivation for Agile framework in Education </li></ul><ul><li>Best practices in teaching-learning process </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed Agile Manifesto in education </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Q & A </li></ul>
  3. 3. Software development Game <ul><li>Key Actors in the Game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programmer / Developer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Customer / Client </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration result in Software </li></ul></ul>Developer Customer Software Collaborate
  4. 4. Some Familiar Questions? <ul><li>Has developer understood what the real requirement of the client is? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a collaboration between developer and client? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the quality of the software? </li></ul><ul><li>How reliable is the software quality? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the feedback mechanism? </li></ul><ul><li>How often bugs are fixed? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Game teacher-teacher <ul><li>Key Actors in the Game </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(All casts chosen are from software industry) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teacher </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cast: “programmer / developer” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cast: “software service / product” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Employer </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cast: “customer / client” </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Where is the Collaboration? Developer Teacher / Institution Employer Customer Software Student Collaborate √ Collaborate?
  7. 7. Ask similar Questions in new Role <ul><li>Has teacher/institution understood what the real requirement of the industry is? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the quality of the student? </li></ul><ul><li>How reliable is the student quality? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the feedback mechanism? </li></ul><ul><li>How often changes are made to course content? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a collaboration between institution and industry? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Present Scenario <ul><li>In curriculum design, industry inputs are often missing </li></ul><ul><li>Academic programs are rigid and uses waterfall process model in delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Most academic programs are fixed time, fixed cost and fixed scope projects </li></ul><ul><li>Change is a bureaucratic process and on an average cycle time is 3-4 years </li></ul>
  9. 9. Present Scenario cont… <ul><li>Students graduate with little practical skills, no idea of industry expectations </li></ul><ul><li>There is over emphasis on what can be taught than what need to be taught </li></ul><ul><li>There is over compartmentalization of education and no time for integration </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, industry has found its own quick fix solutions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Frustration! <ul><li>Industry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t understand what we want </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They don’t know what our problems are </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Confused, eager to join industry only to get more confused </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There is lot of duplication of efforts, waste of time & resources, is anybody listening? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Blame Game <ul><li>Industry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions teach things that are not relevant </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Marks in the exam is no proof of actual skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions teach as if all students are going to be researchers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutions are bureaucratic, they are tightly controlled bodies and averse to change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>. . . </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Blame Game cont… <ul><li>Academia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We teach fundamentals, platform specific skills is not our forte </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We expect industry participation if they want better output </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We are paid peanuts, what better can you expect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our environments are not inspiring, come and work here then talk </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Blame doesn’t fix the bug <ul><li>Understand the process of education </li></ul><ul><li>Three key processes in education are </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching (Teacher and Support staff ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation (Examination and Marking) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Administration (Infrastructure and systems) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IT can play a major role in managing these processes, but that’s a different topic… </li></ul><ul><li>The quality of the education product is directly related to quality of these 3 processes </li></ul>
  14. 14. … where have we come from and where we want to go… <ul><li>Its important to understand the current practices if you want to improve </li></ul><ul><li>Are these proverbs making sense? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do - Chinese proverb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you don’t know where you are, map won’t help - Humphrey’s corollary </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Current Evaluation Practices <ul><li>Focus is on scoring marks then knowing </li></ul><ul><li>Essay type questions lack application </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of trust in teacher and the system </li></ul><ul><li>External examiner adds agony to process </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of transparency adds air of suspicion </li></ul><ul><li>Rule based then student friendly </li></ul><ul><li>Everybody suffers but afraid to change </li></ul>
  16. 16. Current Teaching Practices <ul><li>Engaging class is important but what is taught, how it is taught only students know </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability is often limited to attendance </li></ul><ul><li>Lot of teacher time is spent on mundane jobs, leaving little time to learn new things </li></ul><ul><li>There is no incentive for good teaching or to learn new things </li></ul><ul><li>Chalk & talk has no scope for reusability </li></ul>
  17. 17. Current Status of a Teacher <ul><li>Teacher is costly but neglected resource </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching career often opted not by choice </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher lacks motivation and suffers from low self-esteem </li></ul><ul><li>Current contract appointments lacks vision </li></ul><ul><li>Good teachers are hard to come by </li></ul><ul><li>Stereo type teacher fails to enthuse </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of opportunities lead to obsolescence </li></ul>
  18. 18. Current Administrative Woes <ul><li>Procedures are more important then outcome </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive worry about misuse before use </li></ul><ul><li>All assumed guilty till proved innocent </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability at times confused to accounts </li></ul><ul><li>To administration all teachers look the same </li></ul><ul><li>Control mindset disabling than enabling </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance scores over Competence </li></ul><ul><li>System encourages/propagates mediocrity </li></ul><ul><li>System converts assets into liability </li></ul>
  19. 19. Current Trend in Education <ul><li>Cost of education is rising </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom size is becoming bigger </li></ul><ul><li>Education is being looked as an investment </li></ul><ul><li>Higher education is getting privatized </li></ul><ul><li>Student has become a customer </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge and skills becoming important </li></ul><ul><li>Quality certification is gaining importance </li></ul><ul><li>Education has become a serious business </li></ul>
  20. 20. Current Trend in Business <ul><li>Continuous quality improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Better quality at cheaper price </li></ul><ul><li>Life time of a product cycle is shrinking </li></ul><ul><li>Focus is on productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Leaner the better </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrate on core competence and </li></ul><ul><li>Outsource the rest </li></ul>
  21. 21. Lessons for Educationist <ul><li>Continuously add value to programs </li></ul><ul><li>Balance quality, quantity and cost </li></ul><ul><li>Life time of a degree is shrinking </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher / Student productivity is important </li></ul><ul><li>Establish a niche in specific areas </li></ul><ul><li>Hire few good teachers and admin staff </li></ul><ul><li>Outsource the rest through contracts </li></ul>
  22. 22. Is Education going ISO way ? <ul><li>Many academic institutions are vying for ISO 2001: 9000 certification </li></ul><ul><li>Many processes (more paper work) are getting introduced into institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Mindless adoption of processes may prove expensive and may not serve the purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability of a teacher is important but it needs to be defined properly </li></ul>
  23. 23. Agile Framework <ul><li>Can be applied in each of these areas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Administration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What are the best practices? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Do not reinvent the wheel <ul><li>Use internet resources judiciously </li></ul><ul><li>Download – Modify – Reuse the content but acknowledge the source </li></ul><ul><li>Content has its own life cycle and it needs to be improved over deliveries </li></ul><ul><li>Overhead projectors are better but LCD projectors are the best </li></ul>
  25. 25. Manage classroom time effectively <ul><li>Offline preparation of slides gives more time for student interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute slides but avoid dictating notes </li></ul><ul><li>Give teaching & evaluation plan in advance but keep it agile </li></ul><ul><li>Internet based assignment can bring excitement and curiosity to learn the latest </li></ul><ul><li>Changing teacher role – from sage on the stage to guide by the side </li></ul>
  26. 26. Take feedback often <ul><li>Student is evaluated once in a while, teacher is evaluated everyday </li></ul><ul><li>Written feedback acts as a deterrent and can be used constructively to build peer pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Simple eye contact often does the magic </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation itself could be a good feedback </li></ul><ul><li>There is no one way to teach, each student learns differently </li></ul>
  27. 27. Interact with Local Industry <ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Practical problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology trends </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Give student project based on open source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projects from scratch are often scraped </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adopt 80-20 rule in teaching a course </li></ul><ul><ul><li>80% academic - 20% industry inputs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Pappu” story </li></ul>
  28. 28. Best practices in Evaluation? <ul><li>Evaluate objectively & subjectively </li></ul><ul><li>Each objective question is like Unit Test </li></ul><ul><li>Each Unit Test can identify potential bug </li></ul><ul><li>Test paper to cover the syllabus </li></ul><ul><li>Grading to be flexible to accommodate difficulty level of question paper </li></ul>
  29. 29. Evaluate often <ul><li>Evaluation is the only way to know how much student has understood or misunderstood </li></ul><ul><li>Earlier you detect misunderstanding, easier it is to fix it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Stitch in time saves nine” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Evaluation only determines what student doesn't know and not what student knows </li></ul>
  30. 30. Evaluate objectively & subjectively <ul><li>Objective evaluation takes more effort than subjective evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Subjective evaluation takes more time than objective evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation & certification are two different things and each has its own merit </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation is best done by the teacher and certification is best done by the third party </li></ul>
  31. 31. Relative grading is the best <ul><li>Integrity of the teacher is utmost important </li></ul><ul><li>Handles difficulty level of the question paper </li></ul><ul><li>Empowers the teacher in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Brings in transparency & accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Trust the teacher and they become trustworthy </li></ul><ul><li>Academic audit is the best deterrent </li></ul>
  32. 32. Food for thought! <ul><li>Each student learns differently than why all students should pass in same time? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the competence of a student who has scored 40% marks in an exam? </li></ul><ul><li>How much does a student learn in the class? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we move from just-in-case to just-in-time delivery model? </li></ul>
  33. 33. Case Study: Our MCA Experience <ul><li>100% internal evaluation except the labs </li></ul><ul><li>External lab component helps in peer review </li></ul><ul><li>Projects are qualitatively graded </li></ul><ul><li>CPI provides continuous feedback on student performance </li></ul><ul><li>Students provide mid-semester and end-semester feedback </li></ul>
  34. 34. MCA Examination <ul><li>Low ceremony process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No appointment of </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chairman examination, Paper setter, Supervisor, </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Block supervisor, Attendant, Understudy… </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No 3 manuscript submission business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No coding – decoding of answer papers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No numbering on the benches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students get see all evaluated papers </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Agile Agenda in Education <ul><li>Agile manifesto in Education </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers and Students over Administration and Infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competence and Collaboration over Compliance and Competition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employability and Responding to market demands over syllabus and marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attitude and Learning skills over Aptitude and formal degree </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Conclusion <ul><li>There is an urgent need to apply agile framework to education system before it goes ISO way </li></ul><ul><li>Lightweight process framework like Agile is recommended to educational setup </li></ul><ul><li>Our experience shows that it is very much possible to put these practices in use provided there is will and commitment </li></ul>
  37. 37. Questions? Thank You!