Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

International Journal of Engineering Education








This paper describes the use of a freely-accessible open-source platform based on Google Apps for Education that combines Google Sites, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Hangouts and script language in a custom-based interface that supports collaborative service-learning projects for teams of Engineering and Education students. The approach discussed in this paper was successful in promoting collaboration among students from two different disciplines working remotely. The analysis suggests that balanced participation in the team, presence of shared goals and clear roles that emphasized individual and collective responsibilities were key to a successful interdisciplinary project experience. While many students still reported struggling with normal teamwork challenges, like finding common meeting times, others were pleased with the dynamics of their team and the opportunity to learn from one another. While SCOL, the open-source collaboration tool, did not significantly predict team satisfaction, the instructors found it very valuable for structuring project tasks, monitoring student progress, and providing timely feedback. The tool was seen as critical in supporting cross-disciplinary course collaboration for which students had limited access to face-to-face interaction. Faculty emphasized the importance of training students to use the asynchronous communication and collaboration tools (e.g., Google Docs and Google Hangouts) to maximize the benefits for students. Training will be included in future implementations of SCOL to ensure a more effective use of the platform.


© 2019 TEMPUS Publications. All rights reserved.

Included with an active subscription in accordance with publisher policy.


0000-0003-4348-7798 (Pazos), 0000-0003-3376-0252 (Ringleb)

Original Publication Citation

Pazos, P., Ringleb, S. I., Kidd, J., & Jones, R. (2019). Scaffolding project-based learning in an engineering and education partnership using open-access technology. International Journal of Engineering Education, 35(5), 1306-1315.