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Introducing Requirements Engineering In An Undergraduate Software Engineering Curriculum: Lessons Learned

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering Poster

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Page Numbers

7.748.1 - 7.748.9



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Deepti Suri

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Session 1532

Introducing Requirements Engineering in an Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum: Lessons Learnt

Dr. Deepti Suri

Assistant Professor Department of EECS Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI 53202

Abstract Requirements Engineering (RE) is the process of determining, analyzing, documenting, validating and maintaining the services and constraints of the systems that needs to be designed. Research indicates that on a typical software project, the percentage of time spent on RE and Design, Implementation, and Testing are 40%, 20% and 40% respectively, whereas for successful projects these numbers are 60, 15 and 25%. Because of the high importance of RE in the design of software systems, the need to introduce RE as a required course in the undergraduate Software Engineering (SE) and Computer Science (CS) curricula is getting more attention. This paper summarizes the author’s experiences in developing and teaching a RE course to juniors in the new Software Engineering degree program offered at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

One of the major issues holding back broad acceptance of RE in the software industry today is the widespread belief that major effort in software development lies in programming and testing. Our students have similar perceptions and beliefs and like some seasoned practitioners, are more interested in “how” to solve problems instead of discovering “what” to solve, i.e. gathering the requirements. This paper details how working on “real” industrial projects with external clients for the first time in unfamiliar domains, spending an entire term writing documents (instead of programming), being cognizant of ethical issues, and having to deal with ambiguous and conflicting customer requirements made this course very different and challenging for students. The challenges faced by the instructor in developing and teaching this course are also summarized.

1. Introduction The chances of a product being developed on time and within budget are dependant on thorough and precise analysis of the client's current situation and needs. Informally, the client’s needs are also called “requirements.” A “requirement” is a specification of what should be implemented by a product. The IEEE standard defines requirement as “A condition or capability that must be met or possessed by a system or system component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification or

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society of Engineering Education.

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Suri, D. (2002, June), Introducing Requirements Engineering In An Undergraduate Software Engineering Curriculum: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11092

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