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Examples of Good Practices in ICT

Immersing Students in Collaborative Project Work in Authentic Environments

University of Ghent (Belgium)

Description of the Practice

The course unit is the final one in the student’s learning trajectory as it builds on the final competences of the previous courses of the bachelor’s programme. Students are invited to learn to build a distributed application as a team, relying on various computer science disciplines. By using modern software development methodologies and tools, they learn to deliver a full-fledged software product in a realistic environment.


The project task is fitted by an external partner. Students must therefore learn to communicate correctly with the company or organisation in writing and orally. This project normally produces a prototype for the external partner.


Organisation of the course

Collecting proposals

Project proposals are collected in various ways. Organisations and companies with which the course has already collaborated in the past are contacted to submit new proposals. The university also has a platform where externals can submit proposals for collaboration on course units. Every year, this also provides new partners to collaborate with. Finally, students themselves can also submit proposals in collaboration with a company or organisation.


In a second stage, these proposals are screened to check whether they meet the requirements for the course unit: sufficient size, technically challenging.


Creating project teams

Before the start of the project, students can submit their preferred projects through a top five. The project supervisors form project teams of four to five students based on these preferences. This way of working allows students to have freedom of choice, but still teaches them to work with new colleagues. In most cases, students get their first or second choice.


Modus operandi

During the project the SCRUM principle is applied, working in 3 sprints (phases) of about 3-4 weeks. At the start of each sprint the team together with the tutor and the external partner, will select the features to be realised by the team in the coming sprint. After each sprint, a short demonstration follows and the objectives for the next sprint are set.


At the same time, students are expected to deliver a first version of a part of the final report after each sprint. The supervisors give feedback on this part with the intention of improving the final report. Each sprint focuses on a different component such as project analysis, test plan or installation manual. To collaborate on the project's programme code, students must use a git repository. A production environment where the prototype is running can be requested from the external partner or the supervisors. After each sprint, the prototype can be tested on this.



At the start of the project, an external guest speaker organises a workshop on scrum at which students learn about the scrum principle and also practise it. Presentation techniques classes with practice moments are also organised. In projects in the first and second bachelor, students already received lessons on using git and on written communication.



Students are expected to look for the right technologies for the assignment, to familiarise themselves with new technologies, to communicate correctly with the client and to organise the internal functioning of the team, amongst other tasks.



Peer assessments are held after each sprint to question the internal team functioning and individual contribution of the students. After each sprint, the demonstration for the external partner is reviewed by the supervisors. At the end of the project, the presentations are assessed by the other teams and by the supervisors. External partners and supervisors assess the functioning of the prototype and the level of realisation. The resulting project is graded using a combination of the peer evaluations, the final presentations, the quality of the code and the final report.

Implementing “Open Flipped Classroom” Teaching and Learning

University of Bremen (Germany)

Description of the Practice

This practice was retrieved from García-Holgado et al. (2020) 

Anna Förster has revolutionised the introductory course on computer science for electrical engineers of the University of Bremen in Germany by converting it from a lecture-based course into an inverted classroom format. She has been rearranging the course structure: face to face encounters are organised as so-called hackathons, i.e. condensed and well-planned meetings arranged around practical exercises. For self-studying she has produced short explanatory videos and supporting self-study material that are available as OER online on both the university learning platform and on Youtube (


The learning objectives of the introductory course in computer science include not only the theoretical basics but also practical exercises, such as “What do I have to do to make a light flash or a game work?”. Students can more easily understand such processes by watching videos that can be reviewed multiple times until they are able to carry out the exercises independently. The videos are released as OER through a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to reuse them. The videos are a combination of studio recording and screencast, and jointly with self-study exercises facilitate a flexible elaboration of the learning content in terms of time, place and learning pace. In addition, instead of a weekly lecture, students take part in face-to-face team-based project work sessions, the Hackathons. These take place in a two-week rhythm through sessions of four to five hours of intensive work, for a total of six hackathons altogether per semester. In a hackathon, small teams of students work on collaborative programming exercises where they can clarify open questions and are supported by their teacher and tutors.



The lessons preparation time for Anna Förster has greatly reduced and a replacement in case of illness can be organised with relatively little effort. The collaborative deepening of knowledge between teachers and students during the hackathons enables immediate and flexible support, whereas the blended learning format facilitates the handling of the heterogeneous composition among the students (students with little or no computer science experience versus very advanced students, different language skills, and different professional employment situations) as they study at their own pace. Students learn to face challenges and solve complex problems together and independently.


What is needed for replicating the practice

In order to convert a lecture into an inverted classroom format, you have to divide the material into small, discrete sections and develop related scripts for the videos. It is highly recommended to keep the videos as short as possible, at around five minutes. Thus, you have to condense the content to the absolute minimum. Please keep in mind that you can provide background readings or any kind of additional material. Flexibility is required when recording the explanatory videos, the principle is the simpler the better. Since you may have to make a few attempts at the beginning until your video succeeds, set up a place where you have easy access and which requires little preparation. Apart from the videos of accompanying self-study exercises, additional learning material and team projects for the Hackathon has to be prepared. Finally, you have to set-up the online learning content including videos and self-study exercises within an online learning environment. Due to the Hackathon format, the assessment is delivered through a portfolio examination.


Additional information

Integrating Course Content with an OER Slides Playlist

Universidade Aberta [Open University of Portugal] and Universidad de Trás-os Montes e Alto Douro (Portugal)

Description of the Practice

This practice was retrieved from García-Holgado et al. (2020) 

Leonel Morgado who teaches at Universidade Aberta, the Portuguese Open University, lectures and researches on programming and the use of virtual worlds as tools for learning and business, focusing on multi-user platforms. This practice started when he was still lecturing at Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), in northeast Portugal.


In order to help his students better understand the content of upcoming learning materials, Leonel produces six minutes long or less slideshows focusing on introducing the main course concepts. In the slideshows, he highlights the intended learning goals for each concept, and this helps students build their own learning path. There are three slide sets playlists, for two courses: Web Programming (4 slide sets), Software Development Lab (8 slide sets), Research Methods (1 slide set). The narrative is intentionally voiced by the lecturer, as this increases the level of personal authenticity.


These slideshows are then shared as OER with an appropriate open license and in an open-access digital platform. Originally, it was SlideShare. Later, when that platform stopped allowing audio narratives, Morgado started publishing them on YouTube. His aim was to encourage public comments, but also to reach a wider dissemination.


The slide sets originally meant to support class interactions then evolved into audio-supported slideshows, and rather than being used as class records, they morphed into flipped classroom dynamics elements. This was maintained while the lecture transitioned into Universidade Aberta, a fully online university and slide sets were expanded, refined, and improved.


The time needed to create a playlist of narrated slideshows depends on the number of such resources produced but also on their content, media complexity, and media quality. Planning, preparing, scripting, graphics, rehearsing, recording, eliminating noise and audio editing, time adjustments, etc. implies that teachers dedicate at least half a day per slideshow. However, using more advanced visuals and sounds could extend this significantly.



By using playlists of lecturer-narrated short slideshows, both teachers and students get important benefits. These slideshows provide students, colleagues, and the public in general with a perspective on the lecturer’s intent as a complement with respect to the course contents. Using the lecturer’s own voice enables a more human touch in distant and online learning contexts.

As pointed out by Leonel Morgado in his evaluation of this experience, when applying this approach teachers are encouraged to rethink and identify the core aspects, concerns and perspectives in each cluster of course content. This is due to the short duration of the slideshows which forces them to focus their approach.


On the other hand, students get a direct insight on what characterizes and justifies the teacher’s perspective on given topics. This may contribute to improving the framing and better support the learning effort. In addition, the resources produced allow prospective students and the public to quickly grasp the relevance of the course. Without having to enrol, they have access to the content and the approach used in the course with a degree of detail far superior to a syllabus.


What is needed for replicating the practice

In order to replicate this practice, you need to be able to use video publishing websites and create slideshows. This can be done with many tools, including PowerPoint. It's also important for you to know how to time slides to match recorded audio. Also make sure to know how to record audio and edit it for crispness and noise reduction.


Start by creating a playlist on a video-sharing website (e.g. YouTube). Then, cluster parts of your study materials and activities, framing your goals, perspectives, and advice for each cluster. Subsequently, prepare a slideshow and a script for that particular framing. Record your reading of the script. Perform audio cleanup (noise reduction) and editing (cut out long spaces, clicking noises, etc.). After that, insert the audio in the slideshow, time it to the audio, and save as a video. Finally, publish your video in the video-sharing website and include it in the playlist.


Additional information

Engaging Students with Professional Communities of Practice

Universidade Aberta [Open University of Portugal] and Universidad de Trás-os Montes e Alto Douro (Portugal)

Description of the Practice

This practice was retrieved from García-Holgado et al.


A critical moment for software engineering students learning computer programming is when they must move from novice programming to advanced programming. Proficient novices often disregard the importance of approaching their code architecture and techniques to this new reality, where social-organizational aspects become prevalent: team-based development, vs. individual development; specifications that evolve over time, and maintenance becomes a necessity.


For Leonel Morgado, who currently teaches at Universidade Aberta and has taught at Universidade de Trás-os Montes e Alto Douro, student participation and contribution in communities of practice of actual professionals, and developing collaboration and discussion between students and professionals, raises mutual awareness to realities and contexts of professional practice and its learning by novices.


Through this teaching practice Leonel leads students into the wild world of professional practice, by organizing students’ participation and contribution towards online communities of practice of software development professionals, and then leveraging that participation towards developing collaboration and discussion between students and professionals, with the ultimate goal of raising the awareness of students to the new realities and context of computer programming in professional practice.


The teaching practice extends for three phases of two weeks each. Initially students grasp the online community spirit and scope, and try to contribute usefully. In the second phase, they try to present and discuss a problem there. The final phase is for a retry, in case the first student presentation of the problem was inadequate to gather professional’s interest.



By getting involved with actual professionals in communities of practices, students can get important benefits, such as realizing the relevance and value placed by professionals onto curriculum contents. They also learn how attention in the field must be earned with adequate framing of a problem. Another important advantage of this practice is helping students to understand that there are hardly clear-cut answers to hard technical problems, rather conflicting or alternative perspectives and approaches. Most importantly, by applying this practice, students realize that being able to decide about techniques is more relevant to the practice than simply knowing how to apply a technique.


What is needed for replicating the practice

In order to replicate the practice, you need to be able to follow and contribute to a community of professionals, and to present a problem successfully. Also, students must not be novices in the techniques and concepts, but rather at an intermediate level.


You should start by explaining to students the basics of online communities of professionals, how to be polite and how to distinguish between useful participation and unwelcome participation. After that, identify potential communities for their participation. Have students follow a community for two weeks, initially just observing, then not presenting problems but rather trying to help community members. Have students also prepare a succinct and to-the-point exposition of their assigned problems, which adequately presents them with a rationale that is interesting for professionals. Following that, provide feedback and review. Students post their problem exposition and debate. In case the reception was not positive, or the exposition was not adequate, provide students with improvement feedback so they can retry.


Do an after-action review of the outcome with the group of students, to identify which aspects professionals valued the most and the least, which aspects they ignored or misunderstood and which insights or bias they exhibited.


Additional information

  • Morgado, L.; Fonseca, B.; Martins, P.; Paredes, H.; Cruz, G.; Maia, A.; Nunes, R. & Santos, A. (2012). Social networks, microblogging, virtual worlds, and Web 2.0 in the teaching of programming techniques for software engineering: A trial combining collaboration and social interaction beyond college. Proceedings of the 2012 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Marrakech, 2012, pp. 1-7. 17-20 April 2012. doi:10.1109/EDUCON.2012.6201129

  • Course description with examples:

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