Incorporating Variable Student Levels in IT Course Modules

Brief Description

Real life professional environments in IT require the assimilation of novice and expert professionals in a coherent team that can execute project requirements in an efficient and productive way if it were to successfully meet project objectives. The idea behind this project is to bring exactly that practice in an educational environment. Traditional student learning sources in academia include instructors, print and online media and peer groups.

Traditional sources of student learning

In a business setting functions are complete from teams where learning primarily takes place. A novice will be in a team with experts of various degrees who will teach him the 'secrets' of their craft. This is the main way to transfer knowledge and maintain productivity and efficiency.

Team formation in business settings

In academia the role of the expert is played by the instructor who can not ideally play the role of a team leader. So the only way to create functional teams with various levels of expertise is by creating assignments/projects were students from different levels come together. First year students can represent the novices while third year students can represent the experts.

Sources of enhanced student learning

Here is a case where different level/year courses can have a common component/project were students can work in teams with members from every level. Third year students can develop their leadership skills while first year students will learn to act as team members.

Hypothetical organization of course modules

Some alternative combinations can include he following course:

1st Year
   Discrete Mathematics
   Data Structures
2nd Year
   Operating Systems
3rd Year
   Systems Analysis and Design
   Management Information Systems
   Project Management
   Capstone Project



Harkiolakis, N., "Incorporating a Variable-Expertise-Level System in IT course Modules", Computer, IEEE, April, 2007. (more..)


Harkiolakis, N., Simulating Real-Life IT Project Environments by Integrating Course Modules of Different Student Levels", Plenary Lecture VII, 5th WSEAS/IASME International Conference on Engineering Education, Heraklion, Crete Island, Greece, July 22-24, 2008.  (more..)

The presentation can be accessed here.