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Title:  “Thinking outside the box”: Student engagement

By Dilal Saundage and Lemai Nguyen

Last year Business Requirement Analysis (MIS201) moved away from delivering standard lectures and tutorials to in-class hands-on collaborative team based workshops. This year the unit team (Dilal and Lemai) moved it even further being very creative. They used a combination of different methods to deliver content in workshops and group work. The unit team adapted “role playing” as a method to deliver the modelling component of the course. The teaching team with the help of some keen students assumed different roles of stakeholders in an organisation and acted out several scenarios. The scenarios were scripted to show what really happens in the real world. It was particularly useful to show the pitfalls of requirement gathering such as ambiguous user needs and stakeholder conflicts. Furthermore, the modelling component of the course lent itself nicely to showcase the acting talent of the teaching staff. The teaching staff acted out a scenario with props made out of cardboard boxes to show how to model a sequence diagram, i.e. a flow of user-system interactions. The role playing workshops were well received by students, anecdotal evidence shows better learning outcomes.

Drawing on experiences as a community talk show host and panel members of many conferences, teaching team organised a panel session to deliver the last topic of the course. The teaching team with the help of an experienced industry practitioner (from ANZ) discussed the theoretical and practical aspects of the course content. The panel session was open for students to participate in the discussion. This was also well received as most of the questions from students were directed at the practitioner rather than the two academic panel members.

Scenarios scripts, academic and student participation in interactive role playing, and open discussion between academics, an expert practitioner, and students at the panel session were innovative elements and facilitated interactive delivery and students’ active engagement with the learning content.

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