Collaborative problem-solving through asynchronous discussion

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Global Journal of Engineering Education


© WIETE 2020 The reality of today’s workplace for engineers and computing professionals is that the ability to solve ill-defined and complex problems is a much-needed employment skill. The complexity of existing problems dictates that these can rarely be solved by an individual working alone. It is only by working in collaborative teams that such problems can be effectively addressed. This skill, encompassing the common 21st Century skills of problem-solving and teamwork, is often referred to as collaborative problem-solving (CPS). The authors examine the ability of computing students at a UAE university to collaboratively problem-solve through the use of a scenario-based teaching and assessment tool that is delivered as an asynchronous discussion board. It then describes the research method and how the analysis is utilised and discusses the impact of the findings. Results indicate that students performed better in the skill of teamwork when compared to problem-solving, and even though only two groups achieved or exceeded the target mean score for CPS, the overall mean was at the desired target. This suggests there is a need for expanded curricular opportunities for students to work on ill-defined, complex and multidimensional problems in a collaborative group setting.

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