Are We Ready to Go Live with Our Team Projects?

Janice Whatley
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 13  •  2016  •  pp. 159-169
Project work forms a large part in work undertaken by graduates when they enter the workforce, so projects are used in higher education to prepare students for their working lives and to enable students to apply creativity in their studies as they present a solution to a problem, using technical skills they have learned in different units of study. Projects, both at work and in higher education, may be completed in teams, thus providing experience and the opportunity to develop team working skills. The team projects presented in this paper have been provided by external organisations, so that students work in a team on a real life problem, but with the support of their tutors, in the university setting. In this way the projects more closely resemble the sorts of problems they might encounter in the workplace, giving an experience that cannot be gained by working on tutor devised problems, because the teams have to communicate with an external client to analyse and solve an authentic problem.
Over the three years that the Live Projects have been running, feedback indicates that the students gain employability skills from the projects, and the organisations involved develop links with the university and benefit from output from the projects. A number of suggestions for improving the administration of the Live Projects were suggested, such as providing clients with information on timescales and providing students with more guidance on managing the projects.
Team project, employability, transferable skills, external client
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