ZESZYTY NAUKOWE WYDZIAŁOWE UNIWERSYTETU EKONOMICZNEGO W KATOWICACH - PDF

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Studia Ekonomiczne ZESZYTY NAUKOWE WYDZIAŁOWE UNIWERSYTETU EKONOMICZNEGO W KATOWICACH USER-DRIVEN INFORMATION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Redaktor naukowy Małgorzata Pańkowska Katowice 2013 Wydanie publikacji sfinansowano

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Studia Ekonomiczne ZESZYTY NAUKOWE WYDZIAŁOWE UNIWERSYTETU EKONOMICZNEGO W KATOWICACH USER-DRIVEN INFORMATION SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT Redaktor naukowy Małgorzata Pańkowska Katowice 2013 Wydanie publikacji sfinansowano z grantu nr NN pt. Prosumpcja produktów informatycznych wspomagających zarządzanie w organizacjach gospodarczych Komitet Redakcyjny Krystyna Lisiecka (przewodnicząca), Anna Lebda-Wyborna (sekretarz), Florian Kuźnik, Maria Michałowska, Antoni Niederliński, Irena Pyka, Stanisław Swadźba, Tadeusz Trzaskalik, Janusz Wywiał, Teresa Żabińska Komitet Redakcyjny Wydziału Informatyki i Komunikacji Tadeusz Trzaskalik (redaktor naczelny), Mariusz Żytniewski (sekretarz) Andrzej Bajdak, Małgorzata Pańkowska, Grażyna Trzpiot Rada Programowa Lorenzo Fattorini, Mario Glowik, Miloš Král, Bronisław Micherda, Zdeněk Mikoláš, Marian Noga, Gwo-Hsiung Tzeng Redaktor Karolina Koluch Copyright by Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego w Katowicach 2013 ISSN Wersją pierwotną Studiów Ekonomicznych jest wersja papierowa Wszelkie prawa zastrzeżone. Każda reprodukcja lub adaptacja całości bądź części niniejszej publikacji, niezależnie od zastosowanej techniki reprodukcji, wymaga pisemnej zgody Wydawcy WYDAWNICTWO UNIWERSYTETU EKONOMICZNEGO W KATOWICACH ul. 1 Maja 50, Katowice, tel.: , faks: Małgorzata A. Płotka Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology Paweł Syty Gdańsk University of Technology THE EFFICIENT TAILORING OF IT PRODUCT, SPECIFIC TO THE STAKEHOLDERS NEEDS THROUGH DIRECT, PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING Introduction There are a few factors which may be the recipe for a successful IT project. First of all is an idea the concept for a good product. It must be originated by finding the niche of the market. The niche market idea is the way to distinguish our product from others already existing in the market. If it is our intention that a target group will be youth, it is necessary to propose innovative and attractive solutions to encourage them to use the product. We by giving a proposal to the Polish Ministry of National Education [Pols09a] to realise the e-experiments in physics project decided to go even one better, to convince that our innovative product will have an educational use and value in completion of the curriculum in schools (in particular upper secondary schools). However an idea, even the best one, is not enough. Therefore, we set the research question of how to achieve success, or how to carry out the project in order to create a product that will be well-received by the target group, i.e. students and teachers. The aim of this study is to identify and formulate methods and criteria for success. This is a very important issue in today s world based on IT technology, because there are still too many projects which end in failure [Standish09]. When we have a concept, we have to develop relevant software to satisfy the market and make it attractive for those who will be using it (in this case an educational market). It is also important to choose adequate technology. It THE EFFICIENT TAILORING OF IT PRODUCT 135 should be stressed that in today s IT world one of the most significant characteristics are portability and flexibility [ChunPL09]. Our product should be planned to be software and hardware independent, multi-platform, available for multiple, different operating systems and types of computer equipment (desktops, laptops, tablets, etc.), and multimedia boards. It is also important to ensure the possibility of running a program directly using a web browser (without the need of prior installation on the computer) or installed as a simple application when a computer is not connected to the Internet or access to the Internet is limited. Therefore, in the first place we need to fully understand the requirements of both the end user and the recipient of our product [RozaW05]. In our case the recipient of the e-experiments is the teacher and the end user is the student. To tailor the program specifically to their needs we invited them our stakeholder to work with us. Their executive support in the project is exceptionally helpful in resolving any problems or issues such as adapting e-experiments to the conditions prevailing at school. Their expertise at teaching physics to upper secondary school student is invaluable in the first stage of development and we have utilised input from a methodologist from one of the best secondary schools in Poland. Afterwards our e-experiments are presented to the teachers from selected schools taking part in the project and finally, during product testing we get feedback from the students. All these opinions will be considered to enable modification of the product to make it more attractive to the user, adding new features, functions, or suggestions for other exercises. The paper describes the process of the e-experiments development paying special attention to stakeholders, user and recipient, participatory design and active participation in information system development. Authors present their own experience and methods for different group of stakeholders involvement and usage of their creativity support. Structure of the paper is as follows: at the beginning we introduce into the subject by explaining the context of the project and its product, and how it fits into the niche of the market. Next, we describe the target groups and process of gathering requirements, due to designing and development of software. Then we describe methods of validation and verification of final product. Paper ends with conclusion remarks. Niche of the market: about the project Obviously, physics is an experimental science. Carrying out the experiments allows students to touch the problem, forcing the scientific activity. Let us stress, that only the self-experimentation by students leads to a correct and 136 Małgorzata A. Płotka, Paweł Syty deep understanding of the processes and physical laws, according to the famous maxim of Confucius: Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, let me do and I understand. On the other hand, there are many practical problems when carrying out experiments at schools. Laboratory equipment is very expensive. Usually, there is only a limited number of experimental sets, so only selected students are able to carry out the experiments, while the others are only watching [PłotSJ11; Pols09b; Pols10]. Moreover, there are only the basic instruments in schools. But the lack of proper equipment is not the only problem. Preparation and experimentation takes time, also some willingness and ability of the teacher is required to perform experimental lessons. Some teachers may restrict student s freedom in experimenting, being afraid of the experimental set-ups. This freedom is of course also limited by the physical conditions or for technical reasons e.g. we cannot change the gravity or perform experiment in the accelerating train! It is also obvious, that there are some fields of physics (atomic and nuclear physics, astrophysics), in which carrying out experiments at school is not possible (e.g. for organizational, budgetary, safety reasons). Next, usually it is not possible to establish and carry out experiments by a student at home this is a very strong limitation (it is very well known, that repeating things allows for better understanding and memorization) [PłotSJ11; RuttvJvdV12]. Our product, as opposed to existing ones [KąkoŻ10], is designed to resolve the above problems and limitations, but not in the real world, but in the virtual one. We live in a rapidly changing world, in which both the computers and the Internet are a natural environment for young people. Thanks to that, e-experiments, as the computer programs being equivalents to the real experiments, have a great chance to encourage this target group to use them, as a complement for the real physics. Let us mention here, that e-experiments are just computer tools supporting traditional methods we do not want to displace or replace the actual, real experiments. They are designed to show some physical issues in a broader perspective than is possible with real experiments, allowing for free experimenting according to the rule: design, build, perform the experiment, then analyze and visualize results. This will allow students for a deeper understanding of the problem, for building better understood models, cause-effect sequences and sets of dependencies, which are necessary to describe the phenomena. e-experiments are the very first such didactics tools, fulfilling the above criteria, thus filling the niche on the market. THE EFFICIENT TAILORING OF IT PRODUCT 137 Target group: stakeholders identification At the beginning of the project careful stakeholder identification was carried out. The best efforts to complete a list of people, institutions, organisations and non-human (subject-matter) that could be affected in any way by the project considering any legal, economical-financial, organisational, technical and, above all, social environment affects [Gott02; GottR05; RozaW05]. Depending on the relationship between stakeholders and the project and actual involvement in the project there can be distinguished following groups of interests: customer Polish Ministry of National Education, intermediary institutions for the EFS programmes implementation, project team academic staff and students of the Gdansk University of Technology subject matter experts group leaded by the assistant of the project manager supported by coordinator and methodologist that is responsible for the scenarios (requirement specification) of the e-experiments, numerical engine and the exercise books, developer Young Digital Planet SA, responsible for technological tasks: coding, providing graphics and user interface to the application, consultant L.C.G. Malmberg B.V. is to provide substantial support such reviewing and test ready-made e-experiments reports, administration staff that care for the project s security in terms of legal, technical, financial as well as control progress and compliance with project documents project manager, monitoring and evaluation specialist, public procurement specialist and IT, financial, legal, office together with technical services, and stakeholders that this paper gives more attention: end users physics teachers, recipients students, in particular (but not limited to) of the upper secondary schools, community decision-making board, education and academic circles and net surfer, non-human teaching programme. Stakeholder engagement into project End user and recipients For the purpose of the project physics teachers who use e-experiments as educational tools during her/his lessons at upper secondaries schools and their students who were given classes using e-experiments tool as a recipients were used during development. Both groups are directly affected by the product so 138 Małgorzata A. Płotka, Paweł Syty their opinion is of the paramount importance for the project shape. Their participation in this development is described below in the section Validation with the use of Stakeholder s acceptance tests. Community A community is not considered as a direct customer, user or recipient of the project but its opinion and/or decision can have a material impact on shape and future of the project as they have a direct influence in the successful mainstreaming of the product, after the testing stage. This group includes decision- and opinion-making bodies such as education, academic institutions/organisations related to education (e.g. National Thematic Network for Education and Higher Education a forum of experience exchange and evaluation of innovative projects that may help in popularising and incorporating into the mainstream), education/academic institutions (also in higher education and especially in the field of technical and natural sciences). Full consideration will be given to opinions expressed by institutions/organisations and specialists (e.g. user interaction experts) and feedback has and will assist with further development. Also net servers, potential users (maybe other physics teachers or students) can also provide relevant feedback assisting in an accurate assessment of the product and focus on their interface experience. Perhaps their independent opinion will help improve (e.g. add new functions/features) and make more attractive the proposed educational tool. Decision- and opinion-making bodies: institutions/organisations, education and academic circles During continuous development it is essential that we continue to strive to produce an effective tool that will perform and produce results that accurately compare to existing requirements and is able to adapt to future needs [PłotS12; RuttvJvdV12]. Therefore, the project can be of educational importance and can exercise significant influence not just on the testing group but for the whole future curriculum. Teachers using it and the students who according to this programme, modified/enriched teaching programme, will pursue education on physics and science and if the final product is admitted to dissemination and incorporation it into educational mainstream in Poland, it is essential that consideration and application of any valuable opinion from the educational, academic and subject-matter community is made. THE EFFICIENT TAILORING OF IT PRODUCT 139 In the end, if e-experiments do not raise any concern, National Thematic Network for Education and Higher Education that is made up of experts, innovation European projects beneficiaries and educational organisation representatives by validation of the product will recommend it s incorporation into mainstreaming. Technology To assure the attractiveness of the e-experiments, we decided to produce them with use of the rendered, often 3-dimensional graphics, very similar to the look and feel of the real equipment. Thanks to that, user has an impression of working in the same manner as he would do in the real laboratory. However, we try to keep a reasonable compromise between the attractiveness of graphics and the educational values, so that the user is not distracted at work. e-experiments are implemented in modern and convenient technology Adobe Air. This technology allows users to run them as they wish as a Web or standalone application, independent on hardware and software platforms. One can even run them on the tablets, with full use of touch interface. Thanks to that we do not limit in advance the circle of potential users. Our solution is also very flexible: e-experiments can be presented to user in a several ways. The fundamental equipment is obviously a computer, but it can be accompanied by the multimedia projector or even an interactive board, allowing for better reception, adapted to the size and skills of the group. Requirements Our world is a rapidly changing world, in which computer and Internet are a natural environment for young people. This is where they are spending their free time or looking for educational aids [PłotSJ11]. However, is not the e-experiments goal to replace reality, experiments that should be conducted in physics laboratories at schools, but to support and complement traditional methods based mainly on theory that do not allow full understanding of the actual physics. e-experiments features such as: common set of tools (parts of experimental set-up, stopwatch, table, graph etc.) of a free choice, graphics derived from the real look of the experimental equipment, real-time, reliable calculations, the ability to change the frame of reference to enable specific experimental set-up and to repeat an experiment, using a different sets of parameters, allow the analysis of results by using the table and graph tool aimed at learning by mistakes by using alternative scenarios. 140 Małgorzata A. Płotka, Paweł Syty Verification The verification, ensuring that product is developed in accordance with requirement specification (scenario) [Somm10]. This activity is concerned by the domain experts, project team members who check if there are no bugs that hinder the performance of the experiments. If there are any errors found they are reported to the developer team for correction. This phase is to prepare a preliminary version of the product that can be used during test lessons at upper secondary schools. As soon as software delivered by the developer is approved by the project team a new experiment is placed on the testing platform and project website in order to perform acceptance tests/validation by the stakeholders. The testing platform has been introduced for monitoring the way the students and teachers are using the software (e.g. how often some features are used, how much time the students spend on the exercise etc.). Validation with the use of Stakeholder s acceptance tests When the product is verified by the project team, it is passed on to the teachers, and then, at a later phase, the students, who by testing provide validation and acceptance of the product [HsuCLC08]. The prime objective of the project is to prepare an aid that can be found valuable (by the teachers) and attractive enough to be willingly used by the young people, students. Stakeholders (user, and recipient) acceptance tests serve to develop a product that will meet both educational and practical needs, together with being technically and technologically up-to-date [PłotS12; RuttvJvdV12]. Stakeholders acceptance test course e-experiments will be tested during the two-year mandatory course during physics lessons in the classroom, in selected upper secondary schools. During these lessons, teachers will introduce the e-experiments in a uniform manner. 1. The first year of testing (1st class): the teacher demonstrates a physical phenomenon in the classroom by using appropriate e-experiment and computer and projector, and/or whiteboard, or: classes are held in the computer lab, all students perform the e-experiment by themselves or in groups, depending on the organizational features of school. THE EFFICIENT TAILORING OF IT PRODUCT 141 Notwithstanding the above selection, the teacher asks students to do homework using the e-experiment. 2. The second year of testing (2nd class): The teacher informs students about the upcoming subject of the lesson. He assigns introductory tasks that students are expected to perform at home, using e-experiments. Next, an experiment is performed in the classroom: the teacher, using a computer and projector, and/or whiteboard, by selected student or group of students, using a computer and projector, and/or whiteboard, in the computer lab, all students individually or in groups, depending on the organizational capabilities school. Notwithstanding the above selection, the teacher asks students to do homework using the e-experiment. The general methodology of interaction between the teacher and students, through the testing platform, is as follows: 1. The teacher creates educational materials (he can add a description of the theoretical phenomenon, useful websites, additional literature, etc.) for a variety of physical problems that can be studied using an e-experiment. 2. The teacher creates various tasks (easy, difficult, very difficult an individual approach to a student) in which he will need to use the e-experiment. 3. The student solves the tasks assigned to him, using the e-experiment assembles experimental set, runs the experiment, creates and populates the tables, creates charts. 4. The student saves the status of the e-experiment, if it finds that he performed the task. 5. The student develops results in an external spreadsheet (if needed). 6. The student on the basis of the results and his impression of the software draws his conclusions and enters them into the interactive form. 7. The student sends to the teacher: a link to a saved state of e-experiment, the completed form with his conclusions, additional file
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