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A System to Support Teaching Global Software Development

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

CoED General Technical Session II

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.113.1 - 25.113.13

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Paper Authors

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Robert P. Brazile University of North Texas

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Kathleen Swigger University of North Texas

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Matt Ray Hoyt University of North Texas

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Brian Lee University of North Texas

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Brandon Nelson University of North Texas

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A System to Support Teaching Global Software Development.  ABSTRACTCreating and administering a distributed global software development student project where two ormore Universities have teams of students collaborating on the project requires that information begathered about the teachers, the students, the schedule of the university, the schedule of the project andmuch more. After several years of conducting projects of this kind, our research team has implementeda system to support these activities. We have combined our own experiences with input from othercollaborators who are interested in joining us to participate in our distributed projects. Our Currentteam consists of professors in Great Britain, Turkey, Panama and the United States. New collaboratorsinclude professors from Central and South America.In the past four years we have conducted twelve projects involving students from the four currentcountries mentioned above. We have discovered many challenges to setting up and administering theprojects. We have reported elsewhere about the results we have collected from the student projects[ be provided in the full paper]. This paper will not deal with the problems students encounter in doingthe projects, such as communication difficulties among the student teams caused by culture, time zonedifferences, and lack of face-to-face meetings. Instead we will describe the challenges we haveencountered getting the information we need to plan the project and deciding when the project can bedone, which students can participate and what the content of the project will be.There are many factors involved in deciding what the projects will be in a new semester. Since thestudents are not usually in a dedicated Global Software Development class, we must consider thesubject matter they are currently studying. If our collaborators are teaching a Database course, an AIcourse, a beginning Programming course and a Computer Forensics course, we have to develop aproject that supports the outcomes of those courses. If some courses are freshman level and others aregraduate level, we may need to accommodate both sets of students by multiple projects. Unfortunatelyterms or semesters in different countries are not synchronized. They start on different dates and end ondifferent dates. They have different school holidays. It is a challenge to find a block of time that may bededicated to a project from all participants. We need to know how many students each collaborator hasand then decide how many students to assign to a team. Dealing with these and other questions hassuggested to us a need for a system to collect the data we need each new term so that we can makeinformed and timely decisions about setting up new projects. Although our subject matter is GlobalSoftware Development, this system could be used to support teaching other Global EngineeringProjects.

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