Spiral and Project-Based Learning with Peer Assessment in a Computer Science Project Management Course

  1. Jaime, A. 2
  2. Blanco, J.M. 1
  3. Domínguez, C. 2
  4. Sánchez, A. 1
  5. Heras, J. 2
  6. Usandizaga, I. 1
  1. 1 Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

    Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

    Lejona, España

    ROR https://ror.org/000xsnr85

  2. 2 Universidad de La Rioja

    Universidad de La Rioja

    Logroño, España

    ROR https://ror.org/0553yr311

Journal of Science Education and Technology

ISSN: 1059-0145

Year of publication: 2016

Volume: 25

Issue: 3

Pages: 439-449

Type: Article

DOI: 10.1007/S10956-016-9604-X SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-84973864030 WoS: WOS:000375574100007 GOOGLE SCHOLAR

More publications in: Journal of Science Education and Technology


Different learning methods such as project-based learning, spiral learning and peer assessment have been implemented in science disciplines with different outcomes. This paper presents a proposal for a project management course in the context of a computer science degree. Our proposal combines three well-known methods: project-based learning, spiral learning and peer assessment. Namely, the course is articulated during a semester through the structured (progressive and incremental) development of a sequence of four projects, whose duration, scope and difficulty of management increase as the student gains theoretical and instrumental knowledge related to planning, monitoring and controlling projects. Moreover, the proposal is complemented using peer assessment. The proposal has already been implemented and validated for the last 3 years in two different universities. In the first year, project-based learning and spiral learning methods were combined. Such a combination was also employed in the other 2 years; but additionally, students had the opportunity to assess projects developed by university partners and by students of the other university. A total of 154 students have participated in the study. We obtain a gain in the quality of the subsequently projects derived from the spiral project-based learning. Moreover, this gain is significantly bigger when peer assessment is introduced. In addition, high-performance students take advantage of peer assessment from the first moment, whereas the improvement in poor-performance students is delayed.