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Press Release:


FAU Awarded Collaborative National Science Foundation Grant to Study Teamwork Effectiveness in Software Engineering Education

BOCA RATON, FL (August 30, 2012) – Florida Atlantic University’s department ofcomputer and electrical engineering and computer science associate professor Shihong Huang, Ph.D., has received a collaborative three-year, $200,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) grant in conjunction with San Francisco State University and Fulda University in Germany to find out the effectiveness and efficacy of teamwork in students learning experience. This research is in response to demands of the software engineering industry and is the first to apply novel machine learning techniques to understand, assess and predict student learning of software engineering in teamwork across globally distributed teams.

“We are very pleased to be a selected as a part of this research study,” said Borko Furht, Ph.D., chair of the FAU department of computer and electrical engineering and computer science. “Collaborations provide important opportunities to share new ideas in engineering and computer science and will help our students when they enter the workforce.”

The principal investigators on the three-year study also include Dragutin Petkovic, Ph.D., professor and chair of San Francisco State's computer science department; Kazunori Okada, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at San Francisco State and Rainer Todtenhoefer, Ph.D., professor of applied science at Fulda University in Germany.

The research on software engineering project failure rates points to how team members interact with each other rather than a problem with technology. Objective and quantitative teamwork data will be collected on student activities in ongoing, jointly taught undergraduate computer science courses at the three institutions. The data will then be analyzed using novel machine learning tools to discover a pattern for student success in acquiring teamwork skills and to discover when to intervene when a team is at risk of failing.

Understanding how to create successful team communication in software engineering projects will help industries work more efficiently and fine tune their training processes, and will help students learn to communicate more effectively in globally distributed teams.

“This study will provide the objective and quantitative benchmark for evaluating the effectiveness and efficacy of teamwork. Students in the class will use state-of-the-art technologies and have hands-on experience in developing real-world projects, and collaborating and communicating with peers who are geographically distributed with different cultures, backgrounds and time zones.  The goal of this collaborative effort is to enhance the students’ learning experience in Software Engineering, to better prepare the students for the challenges facing the ever-increasing globalization of software development, and to make the students more competitive in today’s software industry” said Huang.

For more information, contact Shihong Huang at 561-297-1275 or


About FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science:
Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science is committed to providing accessible and responsive programs of education and research recognized nationally for their high quality. Course offerings are presented on-campus, off-campus, and through distance learning in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, geomatics engineering, mechanical engineering and ocean engineering.  For more information about the college, please visi

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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