PIIT - Real-World Assignments for CS Students

Many authors have documented the improvement in retention realized through active learning pedagogies [Prince, 2004; Goodman, 2002; Felder, 2000; Hake, 1998; Campbell, 1997; Tinto, 1997; Seymour, 1994; Berry, 1991]. The form of active learning we are suggesting is most akin to "problem based learning (PBL)"; which uses complex, real-world projects to motivate learning [Beasley]. PBL has been shown to develop and improve communication skills, teamwork, leadership and problem solving skills [Matsuura, 2006]. It also has a positive impact on student motivation [Markham, 2003].

Aided by the CS/IT companies which form the NTC and the M2M consortia, the faculty at the three institutions will create a common database of real-world problems that can be used as assignments in CS/IT courses. This work will expand the creation of the database begun under the NSF-CPATH project at MTSU. For each problem proposed for the database, the sponsoring company will provide the context and visit (some) classes to describe how the problem relates to their business. Each database entry will have keywords that help faculty select appropriate projects for their specific class. Some of the keywords will include the proposed course level, the key concepts illustrated in a typical solution, and some concepts students must know prior to solving the problem. Even relatively simple academic-year projects will be more meaningful when there is a real-world context.

For more information or to submit a project, please visit the project MT website at: http://projectmt.cs.mtsu.edu/

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 0917840. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.