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Using "Facebook" to Improve Communication in Undergraduate Software Development Teams

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Computer Science Education Volume 19, Number 4, ISSN 0899-3408


As part of the CETL ALiC initiative (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning: Active Learning in Computing), undergraduate computing science students at Newcastle and Durham universities participated in a cross-site team software development project. To ensure we offer adequate resources to support this collaboration, we conducted an experience survey amongst teams and a content analysis of their reports. This article reports on the findings of that investigation, and shows that success in the project was often determined by the students' communication strategies and use of available technology. Significantly, students often abandoned the technologies provided and adopted Web 2.0 technologies such as "Facebook" instead. Based on these findings we have developed a tool called CommonGround, designed to run on the "Facebook" platform, which harnesses the students' engagement with the service. CommonGround couples the communication and "social awareness" features inherent in the "Facebook" platform with basic meeting, schedule and project planning facilities. Initial feedback from students using CommonGround is encouraging. (Contains 6 tables and 4 figures.)


Charlton, T., Devlin, M. & Drummond, S. (2009). Using "Facebook" to Improve Communication in Undergraduate Software Development Teams. Computer Science Education, 19(4), 273-292. Retrieved May 20, 2019 from .

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