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Abegaz wins best paper at international conference

Tamirat Abegaz
Dr. Tamirat Abegaz, assistant professor of computer science and information systems in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG), won best overall paper at the 30th annual International Academy of Business Discipline Conference in San Francisco, California.

Dr. Tamirat Abegaz, assistant professor of computer science and information systems in the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia (UNG), won best overall paper at the 30th annual International Academy of Business Discipline Conference in San Francisco, California.

Research for Abegaz's paper, "Assessing the Perceptions and Usage of Agile Software Development Practices in Academic Setting," came from his experiences in becoming a certified scrum master and then teaching his software engineering classes. Scrum, a subset of agile management practices commonly used in software development, helps people work productively to address complex problems and produce quality products, according to the website Scrum.org.

His research investigated two areas: Whether adoption of the scrum framework helps students better achieve learning goals and whether engaging in scrum helps teachers find alternative ways to examine the effectiveness of the teaching and learning experience.

"I consider the entire teaching and learning process as a user experience (UX) research and practices that put students at the central part of the interaction," Abegaz said. "I value learning and do my best to constantly apply what I learn to improve my teaching and learning experience."

In Abegaz's research, students reported that scrum helped them take ownership to deliver a working software based on the expected project outcomes and empowered students to figure out how to accomplish the assigned tasks based on the acceptable criteria. The research also suggested that providing students with hands-on experience in agile practices helps them gain industry-level experience.

"From my industry experience, many software developing companies utilize agile methodology," Abegaz said. "In fact, research indicated that more than 80 percent of software-related companies have employed some form of agile processes for product development."

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