Involving External Stakeholders in Project Courses

by   Jan-Phillip Steghöfer, et al.

Problem: The involvement of external stakeholders in capstone projects and project courses is desirable due to its potential positive effects on the students. Capstone projects particularly profit from the inclusion of an industrial partner to make the project relevant and help students acquire professional skills. In addition, an increasing push towards education that is aligned with industry and incorporates industrial partners can be observed. However, the involvement of external stakeholders in teaching moments can create friction and could, in the worst case, lead to frustration of all involved parties. Contribution: We developed a model that allows analysing the involvement of external stakeholders in university courses both in a retrospective fashion, to gain insights from past course instances, and in a constructive fashion, to plan the involvement of external stakeholders. Key Concepts: The conceptual model and the accompanying guideline guide the teachers in their analysis of stakeholder involvement. The model is comprised of several activities (define, execute, and evaluate the collaboration). The guideline provides questions that the teachers should answer for each of these activities. In the constructive use, the model allows teachers to define an action plan based on an analysis of potential stakeholders and the pedagogical objectives. In the retrospective use, the model allows teachers to identify issues that appeared during the project and their underlying causes. Drawing from ideas of the reflective practitioner, the model contains an emphasis on reflection and interpretation of the observations made by the teacher and other groups involved in the courses. Key Lessons: Applying the model retrospectively to a total of eight courses shows that it is possible to reveal hitherto implicit risks and assumptions and to gain a better insight into the interaction...


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