Join us to discuss using agile group projects to develop more employable graduates on Monday 13th May at 2pm BST

CC licensed agile image from

Employers often love academic group projects while students often loathe them. How can Agile group projects be used to develop students skills, both hard technical skills and softer people skills? Join us on Monday 13th May at 2pm BST to discuss a paper on this published by Jordan Allison and his collaborators at the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Bristol in the Journal of Further and Higher Education. [1] From the abstract:

This article presents the usage of Integrated Course Design (ICD) in the design and evaluation of applying agile methodologies within an undergraduate module of study to foster the development of computer science students employability skills. Undergraduate programs of computer science typically follow traditional educational methods which can lead to students unable to connect knowledge learned in class to actual situations and students are often assessed individually, whereas collaborative group projects are more akin to industry practice. The teaching experience reported gives students the opportunity to relate concepts learnt in class to a practical group-based project. Students must meet the requirements of a ‘client’ who will provide feedback and additional challenges for students while following the Agile framework SCRUM. Positive student feedback and module grades 7.70% higher than the department average over a four year period indicates the teaching structure and assessment presented is an effective method to foster the development of technical and soft skills of undergraduate computer science students.

We’ll be joined by the co-authors who will give us a five-minute lightning talk summary of their paper to kick-off our discussion. All welcome, joining details at


  1. Jordan Allison, Abu Alam, Luke Gassmann, Gareth Nelson & Kamal Zidan (2024): Fostering the development of computer science graduate employability through agile projects, Journal of Further and Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2024.2340642

Join us on Zoom to dive into open online interactive textbook publishing on Monday 12th June at 2pm BST

CC licensed Scuba diver by

The textbook has long been a mainstay of education. Although online textbooks can give students easy (and sometimes free) access to increasingly interactive resources, authors have a bewildering array of tools and publishing models to select from. Software such as,,,,,,,, and many others allow instructors to publish course material freed from the constraints of printed paper, monolithic Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and Monolithic Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Join us on Monday 12th of June at 2pm BST (UTC+1) to discuss a paper describing one example: Dive Into Systems an undergraduate textbook on computer systems. We’ll be joined the co-authors of a paper [1] and corresponding textbook by Suzanne Matthews, Tia Newhall and Kevin C. Webb from Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania and the United States Military Academy at, New York. 🇺🇸 From the abstract of their paper:

This paper presents our experiences, motivations, and goals for developing Dive into Systems, a new, free, online textbook that introduces computer systems, computer organisation, and parallel computing. Our book’s topic coverage is designed to give readers a gentle and broad introduction to these important topics. It teaches the fundamentals of computer systems and architecture, introduces skills for writing efficient programs, and provides necessary background to prepare students for advanced study in computer systems topics. Our book assumes only a CS1 background of the reader and is designed to be useful to a range of courses as a primary textbook for courses that introduce computer systems topics or as an auxiliary textbook to provide systems background in other courses. Results of an evaluation from students and faculty at 18 institutions who used a beta release of our book show overwhelmingly strong support for its coverage of computer systems topics, its readability, and its availability. Chapters are reviewed and edited by external volunteers from the CS education community. Their feedback, as well as that of student and faculty users, is continuously incorporated into its online content at

We’ll also be discussing options for adding interactivity to textbooks, see So join us to find out more about what the future of textbooks might look like using Dive Into Systems as an exemplar. All welcome, as usual, we’ll be meeting on zoom, details at

Nominate papers you’d like us to discuss at future journal club meetings at


  1. Suzanne J. Matthews, Tia Newhall and Kevin C. Webb (2021) Dive into Systems: A Free, Online Textbook for Introducing Computer Systems SIGCSE ’21: Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, Pages 1110–1116 DOI: 10.1145/3408877.3432514

Join us to discuss why minimal guidance doesn’t work on Monday 2nd November at 2pm GMT

Minimal guidance is a popular approach to teaching and learning. This technique advocates teachers taking a back seat to facilitate learning by letting their students get on with it. Minimal guidance comes in many guises including constructivism, discovery learning, problem-based learning, experiential learning, active learning, inquiry-based learning and even lazy teaching. According to its critics, unguided and minimally guided approaches don’t work. Join us to discuss why via a paper [1] published by Paul Kirschner, John Sweller and Richard Clark, here is the abstract:

Evidence for the superiority of guided instruction is explained in the context of our knowledge of human cognitive architecture, expert–novice differences, and cognitive load. Although unguided or minimally guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half-century that consistently indicate that minimally guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process. The advantage of guidance begins to recede only when learners have sufficiently high prior knowledge to provide “internal” guidance. Recent developments in instructional research and instructional design models that support guidance during instruction are briefly described.

This is a controversial, heavily cited and politically motivated paper which has provoked numerous rebuttals, making it an ideal candidate for a juicy journal club discussion! Thanks to Quintin Cutts for this months #paper-suggestions via our slack channel at

As usual, we’ll be meeting on zoom, see for details and meeting URLs.


  1. Kirschner, Paul A.; Sweller, John; Clark, Richard E. (2006). “Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching”. Educational Psychologist. 41 (2): 75–86. DOI: 10.1207/s15326985ep4102_1 (see also for online attention scores)