Constructivism in Computer Mediated Communication – Digital Learning, a Software Engineering Module

Cornelia Connolly [], Dundalk Institute of Technology, Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland, Nicola Marsden [], University of Heilbronn, Germany


Two distinguishing characteristics of adult learning most frequently advanced by theorists, are firstly the adults autonomy of direction in the act of learning and secondly the use of personal experience as a learning resource. Digital Learning is facilitated by technology, giving the students some element of control of their learning over time, place and pace.  Computer-mediated communication can be defined as human communication that is maintained or altered through machines. By exploring computer-mediated communication in a digital learning environment, this project undertook a key challenge for educators teaching students to engineer software in globally dispersed teams for our adult learners.

The current workplace emphasis on teamwork, technology and globalization make these core learning concepts, and none more so than in the software development industry. Organizations have increased their reliance on technology as a mode of communication. Software engineering development in virtual teams, across international boundaries, is common-place in industry, however this is seldom obtainable to students within educational institutions.

This paper describes the constructivist approach, supported by computer-mediated communication theory in teaching Software Engineering. The project involved three international institutes of higher educational teaching Software Engineering to computing students. The paper contribution presents a comprehensive course design that accelerates team and group theory beyond the traditional face-to-face team application. It coveys the potential for growth in online pedagogies and explicates the value of technology in course design and delivery with today’s millennial student-learners.

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e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, MOOCs, collaborative learning, internet, learning management system, LMS, interaction,

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