Active Learning in the StudioIT classrooms - give it a try!

Project Management Activity

Submitted by Dr. Melanie Abbas, Director IT-Educational Technology & Media Services, Computer Science Adjunct

I have been teaching CS 3730 Project Management for the past couple years and have been looking at ways to engage students in the classroom in the activities that support the content in what could be a very dry subject area. One area that is often hard to convey is the idea of project risk. This semester, I think I have finally found a way to use the technologies in the room to assist with this transfer of knowledge and also address the competency in the course of learning to use project management software.

By using the technologies in the StudioIT 1 (room ITTC 134), I was able to setup groups using one TV and a Solstice wireless display sharing device so that each group could collaborate on the decisions they were making. As an instructor, this also helps me to see that each group is working and walk around the room to discuss their decisions without hovering over a laptop or looking at a piece of paper on the table. I have used this same method any time I am having the students working on a group discussion. This keeps the note taking up on the TV for me to respond as I walk around the room. It also allows the rest of the class to see during our wrap up of the discussions

In regards to this particular activity, the class was put into teams who were given a project file using  30 day free trail of a project management software at Each group started with the same project file, a choice  of staff and a fixed budget to update their file.They were given 20 minutes to set their project and prepare for the execution phase. During the execution phase, I drew random issues from a bag that would impact their project. For example, the ordered equipment was $1000 higher than estimated, a staff member was sick on a specific date, or a task took longer than expected causing delays.  After several issues were drawn and schedules were adjusted, the team which completed their project the soonest with the lowest budget won (in this case, a bag of mini snickers!). 

Students in the class mentioned that it helped them to have the group discussions on how to do the scheduling, use the software and think of possible issues that could go wrong. There is no way in a 5 week course that I could have students go through an entire project management cycle to learn about risk, but this activity could be done in one class period.

If you would like to know more about how I have used the room or schedule a tour of the room, please email me

This classroom can be reserved for a specific class period activity, group meetings, or as the primary classroom for the entire semester (depending on availability). 

If you are interested, please fill out a request for the space at:

  • ITTC 36
  • (319) 273-5555
  • Service Hub