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


  • 1.Agile: In teaching learning process V. V. Kamat Goa University [email_address]

2. Agenda

  • Why agile in Education?
  • Motivation for Agile framework in Education
  • Best practices in teaching-learning process
  • Proposed Agile Manifesto in education
  • Conclusion
  • Q & A

3. Software development Game

  • Key Actors in the Game
    • Programmer / Developer
    • Customer / Client
    • Collaboration result in Software

Developer Customer Software Collaborate 4. Some Familiar Questions?

  • Has developer understood what the real requirement of the client is?
  • Is there a collaboration between developer and client?
  • What is the quality of the software?
  • How reliable is the software quality?
  • What is the feedback mechanism?
  • How often bugs are fixed?

5. Game teacher-teacher

  • Key Actors in the Game
    • (All casts chosen are from software industry)
  • Teacher
    • Cast: programmer / developer
  • Student
    • Cast: software service / product
  • Employer
    • Cast: customer / client

6. Where is the Collaboration? Developer Teacher / Institution Employer Customer Software Student Collaborate Collaborate? 7. Ask similar Questions in new Role

  • Has teacher/institution understood what the real requirement of the industry is?
  • What is the quality of the student?
  • How reliable is the student quality?
  • What is the feedback mechanism?
  • How often changes are made to course content?
  • Is there a collaboration between institution and industry?

8. Present Scenario

  • In curriculum design, industry inputs are often missing
  • Academic programs are rigid and uses waterfall process model in delivery
  • Most academic programs are fixed time, fixed cost and fixed scope projects
  • Change is a bureaucratic process and on an average cycle time is 3-4 years

9. Present Scenario cont

  • Students graduate with little practical skills, no idea of industry expectations
  • There is over emphasis on what can be taught than what need to be taught
  • There is over compartmentalization of education and no time for integration
  • Instead, industry has found its own quick fix solutions

10. Frustration!

  • Industry
    • They dont understand what we want
  • Academia
    • They dont know what our problems are
  • Student
    • Confused, eager to join industry only to get more confused
  • There is lot of duplication of efforts, waste of time & resources, is anybody listening?

11. Blame Game

  • Industry
    • Institutions teach things that are not relevant
    • Marks in the exam is no proof of actual skills
    • Institutions teach as if all students are going to be researchers
    • Institutions are bureaucratic, they are tightly controlled bodies and averse to change
    • . . .

12. Blame Game cont

  • Academia
    • We teach fundamentals, platform specific skills is not our forte
    • We expect industry participation if they want better output
    • We are paid peanuts, what better can you expect
    • Our environments are not inspiring, come and work here then talk

13. Blame doesnt fix the bug

  • Understand the process of education
  • Three key processes in education are
    • Teaching (Teacher and Support staff )
    • Evaluation (Examination and Marking)
    • Administration (Infrastructure and systems)
  • IT can play a major role in managing these processes, but thats a different topic
  • The quality of the education product is directly related to quality of these 3 processes

14. where have we come from and where we want to go

  • Its important to understand the current practices if you want to improve
  • Are these proverbs making sense?
    • If you dont know where you are going, any road will do - Chinese proverb
    • If you dont know where you are, map wont help - Humphreys corollary

15. Current Evaluation Practices

  • Focus is on scoring marks then knowing
  • Essay type questions lack application
  • Lack of trust in teacher and the system
  • External examiner adds agony to process
  • Lack of transparency adds air of suspicion
  • Rule based then student friendly
  • Everybody suffers but afraid to change

16. Current Teaching Practices

  • Engaging class is important but what is taught, how it is taught only students know
  • Accountability is often limited to attendance
  • Lot of teacher time is spent on mundane jobs, leaving little time to learn new things
  • There is no incentive for good teaching or to learn new things
  • Chalk & talk has no scope for reusability

17. Current Status of a Teacher

  • Teacher is costly but neglected resource
  • Teaching career often opted not by choice
  • Teacher lacks motivation and suffers from low self-esteem
  • Current contract appointments lacks vision
  • Good teachers are hard to come by
  • Stereo type teacher fails to enthuse
  • Lack of opportunities lead to obsolescence

18. Current Administrative Woes

  • Procedures are more important then outcome
  • Excessive worry about misuse before use
  • All assumed guilty till proved innocent
  • Accountability at times confused to accounts
  • To administration all teachers look the same
  • Control mindset disabling than enabling
  • Compliance scores over Competence
  • System encourages/propagates mediocrity
  • System converts assets into liability

19. Current Trend in Education

  • Cost of education is rising
  • Classroom size is becoming bigger
  • Education is being looked as an investment
  • Higher education is getting privatized
  • Student has become a customer
  • Knowledge and skills becoming important
  • Quality certification is gaining importance
  • Education has become a serious business

20. Current Trend in Business

  • Continuous quality improvement
  • Better quality at cheaper price
  • Life time of a product cycle is shrinking
  • Focus is on productivity
  • Leaner the better
  • Concentrate on core competence and
  • Outsource the rest

21. Lessons for Educationist

  • Continuously add value to programs
  • Balance quality, quantity and cost
  • Life time of a degree is shrinking
  • Teacher / Student productivity is important
  • Establish a niche in specific areas
  • Hire few good teachers and admin staff
  • Outsource the rest through contracts

22. Is Education going ISO way ?

  • Many academic institutions are vying for ISO 2001: 9000 certification
  • Many processes (more paper work) are getting introduced into institutions
  • Mindless adoption of processes may prove expensive and may not serve the purpose
  • Accountability of a teacher is important but it needs to be defined properly

23. Agile Framework

  • Can be applied in each of these areas
    • Teaching
    • Evaluation
    • Administration
  • What are the best practices?

24. Do not reinvent the wheel

  • Use internet resources judiciously
  • Download Modify Reuse the content but acknowledge the source
  • Content has its own life cycle and it needs to be improved over deliveries
  • Overhead projectors are better but LCD projectors are the best

25. Manage classroom time effectively

  • Offline preparation of slides gives more time for student interaction
  • Distribute slides but avoid dictating notes
  • Give teaching & evaluation plan in advance but keep it agi