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Dissertation by Portfolio - A Break from Traditional Approaches

Authors: Paul Crowther, Richard Hill


Much has been written about the difficulties students have with producing traditional dissertations. This includes both native English speakers (L1) and students with English as a second language (L2). The main emphasis of these papers has been on the structure of the dissertation, but in all cases, even when electronic versions are discussed, the dissertation is still in what most would regard as a traditional written form. Master of Science Degrees in computing disciplines require students to gain technical proficiency and apply their knowledge to a range of scenarios. The basis of this paper is that if a dissertation is a means of showing that such a student has met the criteria for a pass, which should be based on the learning outcomes of the dissertation module, does meeting those outcomes require a student to demonstrate their skills in a solely text based form, particularly in a highly technical research project? Could it be possible for a student to produce a series of related artifacts which form a cohesive package that meets the learning out comes of the dissertation?

Keywords: Computing, Masters dissertation, thesis, portfolio

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