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Teaching Software Engineering: An Active Learning Approach

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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

Topics in Computer Science and Programming

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1257.1 - 25.1257.14



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Paper Authors


Walter W. Schilling Jr. Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Walter Schilling is an Assistant Professor in the Software Engineering program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wis. He received his B.S.E.E. from Ohio Northern University and M.S.E.S.
and Ph.D. from the University of Toledo. He worked for Ford Motor Company and Visteon as an embedded software engineer for several years prior to returning for doctoral work. He has spent time at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and consulted for multiple embedded systems companies in the Midwest. In
addition to one U.S. Patent, Schilling has numerous publications in refereed international conferences and
other journals. He received the Ohio Space Grant Consortium Doctoral Fellowship, and has received awards from the IEEE Southeastern Michigan and IEEE Toledo sections. He is a member of IEEE,
IEEE Computer Society, and ASEE. At MSOE, he coordinates courses in software quality assurance, software verification, software engineering practices, real time systems, and operating systems, as
well as teaching embedded systems software.

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Mark J. Sebern Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Mark J. Sebern is a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), and founding Program Director for MSOE's undergraduate software engineering program. He has served as an ABET Program Evaluator for software engineering, computer engineering, and computer science, and is currently a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission.

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Teaching Software Engineering: An Active Learning ApproachAbstractSoftware Engineering is a core component of many computer engineering programs. Insoftware engineering courses, students are taught to apply their programming anddevelopment skills to solve a larger scale problem. The resolution of this problem involvesthe development of an understanding of the problem as well as an analysis of solutionalternatives. Unfortunately, in many cases, the software engineering course is offered latein the curriculum, typically at the senior level. This makes it difficult for students to applythe knowledge that they have learned effectively outside of the course on capstone andother academic projects. Students often comment that it would have been “nice to knowthis” before making the wrong decisions on their capstone projects. Thus, to be successful,components of software engineering need to be taught earlier in the undergraduatecurriculum. This shifting to an earlier level, however, poses pedagogical issues.This paper describes the metamorphosis of an undergraduate software engineering course from asenior level course to a sophomore level course. In this course, students are taught to usesoftware engineering tools and practices in pursuit of a solution to a software based embeddedsystems problem. Students actively work together in teams while theoretical softwareengineering concepts are delivered using “Just in Time” instruction.In addition to providing an overview of the course material and exercises, this article will discussthe changes made to the course in each of the previous 4 offerings. Changes were based uponstudent comments and other feedback. An analysis of student comprehension and performanceagainst course outcomes will also be provided.

Schilling, W. W., & Sebern, M. J. (2012, June), Teaching Software Engineering: An Active Learning Approach Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22014

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