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Teaching A Real World Software Design Approach Within An Academic Environment

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.577.1 - 5.577.8



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Paper Authors

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Jr. , John A. Hamilton

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Jeanne L. Murtagh

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2225

Teaching a Real-World Software Design Approach Within an Academic Environment

Jeanne L. Murtagh, John A. Hamilton, Jr. Air Force Institute of Technology / Joint Forces Program Office


In this paper, we discuss how object-orientation and the industrial standard for software development, "Software Lifecycle Processes, IEEE/EIA 12207.0-1996" can be used to enhance the students’ design experience in a 400-level course in a software engineering program. Although every phase of the software development lifecycle is important, we have found that the two lifecycle phases which present the greatest challenges in a classroom environment are the software requirements analysis phase and the software design phase. Practical experience with requirements definition is an important part of the software engineering process, but it is beyond the scope of this paper; we shall focus on the latter phase. Furthermore, we claim that students benefit from first developing proficiency in the software design phase -- before they face the major challenges of the software requirements analysis phase. This design proficiency can be developed by employing the industrial evaluation criteria, described in IEEE/EIA 12207, for both the high-level and detailed designs produced by the students. We also recommend that the students work from clear, consistent, and reasonably complete requirements provided by the instructor in the project assignment. It is critical that the students continue beyond the design phase and actually implement, test and document their projects, because some design flaws are not obvious to inexperienced software developers until they attempt to write code based on the flawed design.

This paper discusses how we focused on the design phase of software development and encouraged design practices that would be effective for industrial projects, as well as our much smaller academic projects.

I. Introduction

In this paper, we discuss how to focus on teaching software design principles that can be applied on industrial-sized projects, within the constraints of an academic environment. We found that both an object-oriented approach to software development and extensive use of the industrial standard for software development, IEEE/EIA 12207, "Software Lifecycle Processes," made it possible to provide "industrial strength" design experiences within the size and time constraints imposed by an academic environment. The IEEE/EIA 12207 design evaluation criteria are

Hamilton, J. J. A., & Murtagh, J. L. (2000, June), Teaching A Real World Software Design Approach Within An Academic Environment Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8739

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