Activity 3

TLA5-3: Collaborative work

The third proposed activity (TLA5-3) is a collaborative work to solve a problem in class that intends to facilitate the reaching of a higher level of learning (APPLY). Working collaboratively has several advantages for students who usually need to "share concerns, seek clarification over assignment requirements and to check their own insecure interpretations" (Saberton 1985 as referred in [9]). By solving a problem, students put in practice what they have read (TLA5-1) and listened to (TLA5-2).  Hence, the learning is fostered through the students' engagement along the collaborative and guided activity for solving a problem - an exercise in class.
To perform this activity, the following steps may be taken into consideration:

  1. Prepare a short exercise of functional size measurement (e.g. a purchase order, a hotel booking, a student registration, etc.).  Take into account that exercises/examples must be in the context in which the students will use the problem solving skills (i.e. real-life problems).  
  2. Form small groups of students to perform the exercise - games may be used.    
  3. Give students detailed instructions including a reasonable timeframe for performing the activity.   
  4. Select 2 groups to present the solution.   
  5. Ask questions to the students and invite the rest of students to present different solutions   
  6. Make suggestions and give feedback in a critical and reflective way to demonstrate the correct answers to students. In this way students are shown how to think critically. Therefore, this demonstration will help students in developing analytical skills.   
  7. Encourage the learner to reflect on what he/she has learned (self reflection).   
  8. Distribute the solution of the exercise to students including explanations.

For this TLA5-3, an exercise of a "purchase order" that includes a description of the flow of events, a screen shot of the user interface and the data model (see Figure) can be distributed to students. With this information, along with an explanation from the teacher, the students have to obtain the functional size of the "purchase order" functionality in 20 minutes by using the following measurement procedure:
1. Identify the functional users.
2. Identify the triggering event.
3. Identify the functional processes.
4. Identify the data groups.
5. Identify the data movements from the interface (Entry, eXit, Read and Write).
6. Obtain the total number of Cosmic Function Points (CFP).