F5-C1-4 - Students´ professional competences in computing project courses in the Norwegian context

3. Research Full Paper
Justyna Szynkiewicz , Gunhild Marie Lundberg1, Mats Daniels2
1 Norwegian University of Science and Technology
2 Uppsala University

In this Research Full Paper we look at IT students’ experiences from collaborative project-based courses at two Norwegian universities through the lens of “Curtin graduate attributes”. Many universities use lists of graduate attributes, sometimes referred to as competencies, generic skills, or capabilities that graduates should acquire during their studies. For the time being, these two Norwegian higher education institutions have not implemented graduate attributes into their curricula, though there are several ongoing initiatives that promote students’ employability and development of professional competencies. Through interviews, observations, and thematic analysis with overtones of grounded theory, we aim to identify Norwegian IT students' perceptions of professional competencies acquired at project-based learning courses. The findings are analysed through the use of the identity and employability frameworks, taking into consideration the cultural context. This paper answers two research questions: 1) What professional competencies do students acquire in project-based learning settings? 2) How do project-based learning courses support the development of employability and identity? We have identified that putting more emphasis on graduate attributes can help to legitimise diverse ways of participation in the computing discipline and at the same time broaden its identity.