June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.127.1 - 24.127.12
A “Software and Systems” Integration Framework for Teaching Requirements EngineeringIt is long ago now that engineered systems were made only from physical components. Nowadays, everycar built includes some sort of a computing unit that runs software. We are also moving towardsbuilding smart homes. Software engineering is not anymore needed only for, let’s say, computers andspace rockets, it is now part of most of the traditional engineered systems. As consequence, integrationof systems engineering and software engineering to improve the engineering design process, which mayhave been only desired in the past, became the norm in the engineering world. One solution to trainproficient systems engineers is to provide them with knowledge in both systems and software. As such,at my current institution, during the Fall 2013 semester, the graduate “Software RequirementsEngineering” and “System Requirements Analysis and Modeling” courses are combined in one section.The first course is a requirement for the master’s program in Software Engineering, while the secondone is an elective for students enrolled in graduate electrical and computer engineering programs.Serving as instructor for this combined section comes with both challenges and opportunities. First, theinstructor needs to acknowledge that this combined section is, nevertheless, a course in RequirementsEngineering, which is the overarching theme of both course syllabi as both of them list the requirementsengineering process stages. Then, just as a real-life requirements engineer, the instructor needs to elicitthe specific requirements from the two syllabi, by carefully analyzing the syllabi course descriptions, andby performing a domain analysis of the software and systems requirements domains. Given the fact thatthe students have either software or systems development background, the course preparation,management, and evaluation of course learning objectives needs to address the common aspects ofsoftware and system requirements, as well as reconcile the differences of the two. Half away into thecourse, the instructor noticed the different approaches of the students in terms of the real-life examplesthey relate to during class discussions. It is the needed work of the course instructor to fine tune theseemingly different approaches of “software or systems” and use them in a “software and systems”integration framework throughout the semester long course. Lectures, discussions, assignments, andcase studies are all developed with the “software and systems” integration framework in mind. At theend of the semester, the achievement of the course learning objectives will also be checked against theintegration framework especially that larger case studies will be assigned as course project. The actualpaper will report the findings uncovered during the entire offering of the combined softwarerequirements and systems requirements class.
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