Collaboration Support in an International Computer Science Capstone Course

  • Robert Adams
  • Carsten KleinerEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9742)


Many computer science programs require some kind of culminating “capstone” course where students demonstrate skills learned in their CS curriculum. These capstone courses typically focus on the technical skills that students have learned, but one skill that is becoming more critical in our ever-global world is the ability to work in an international setting. Specifically, working on a team with students from a different country and/or culture. Over the past three years we have successfully offered an international capstone experience requiring students to work on a virtual team with students from a different country. For instructors, the primary challenge in offering such a course is collaboration between the instructors prior to the start of class. For students, the primary challenge is collaboration while the course is underway. This paper examines how we support instructor/instructor, instructor/student, as well as student/student communication and collaboration. This paper highlights how current web-based technologies provide support for collaboration. More specifically at least shared online storage for standard documents such as text or spreadsheets as well as video conferencing facilities are required for all the relations. Additionally, shared code repositories (and corresponding presentation) as well as online and offline messaging is necessary for a satisfactory experience. Software project management platforms provide additional important features. We show how technologies such as GitHub, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and Redmine provided the necessary support in several projects. At the same time other project teams have employed other similar technologies successfully as well. Our hope is that others are encouraged to attempt similar international efforts in order to broaden their students’ non-technical skills as all the technologies are already in-place, well-known and stable, thus lowering the barrier for these important international experiences significantly.


Computer science capstone course Collaboration support International software project Software engineering in virtual teams Collaboration tools 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing and Information SystemsGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Applied Sciences & Arts HannoverHannoverGermany

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