I am just back from a wonderful conference called Agile Goa 2007. This was a two day introductory conference on Agile Methodologies and the purpose of this conference was to address this interest and provide a comprehensive overview of the current State-of-the-Art, as well as State-of-the-Practice, for Agile Methods. Needless to say that the purpose was met and much in style.
I did a presentation on Extreme Programming at this conference.
The exciting part of the conference were the target audience. Most of the participants were Computer Science lecturers and professors who had gathered at Goa University from all over India. There were around 50 participants representing around 14 universities. Dr. Jyoti Pawar played a leading role in getting the conference organized in the most professional way.
- Understand the basic of Agile and various methodologies
- How to make Agile methodologies a part of their course curriculum at the Universities? The software industry had voiced the concern that he students coming out of top universities still know little about agile.
- Apart from this the academic group also wanted to evaluate how and which of the Agile methodologies they could successfully apply to their teaching process.
The agenda for the whole conference is linked here. There were sessions on various topics like Scrum, XP, Scrum and XP in practice, Distributed Agile and Open House for all questions and interesting debates.
Agile Driven Teaching
Immersed into the Agile way of working academicians came up with the following innovative ways of teaching
- Dr. Kamath came up with a very interesting observation that he would like to do something called “Test Driven Learning” based on the concept of “Test Driven Development”. His idea was that he would like to begin his class by giving a 10 minute test. Most of the students would know nothing about the topics that they would learn in the next 60 minutes and would fail the test. Then he would address the topics one after another. In the end he would repeat the test again. This time all the tests should be green thus giving the teacher a good view on how effective the teaching and learning has been. Very innovative thought indeed!
- Another thought was to execute Sprints of the subject and have tests at the end of every sprint to gain feedback. After every sprint the entire class with the teacher would also do a Sprint Review and reflection to improve in the next Sprint. The velocity of the class would be based on the number of topics covered during the Sprint and review would discuss ways to improve the velocity.
- Students could do a daily standup in which they can discuss what they studied yesterday, what they would intend to study today and impediments if any. The Teacher a.k.a Scrum master in this case could work with the students to remove their impediments and during the standup the fellow students can learn from each other on the best way to study.
The entire conference had good participation from the participants and the energy level seen to introduce agile in the curriculum and apply agile to teaching was highlight of the conference.
Though I did not get time to tour around Goa however the entire conference leaves a very satisfying feeling in mind. Hoping to be in Goa for another conference soon.