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The Effectiveness of Software Development Instruction Through the Software Factory Method for High School Students (Work In Progress)

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division Poster Session: Works in Progress

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

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Paper Authors


Clemente Izurieta Montana State University

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Dr. Izurieta is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science department at Montana State University. Born in Santiago, Chile, his research interests include empirical software engineering, design and architecture of software systems, design patterns, the measurement of software quality, pedagogical approaches to software engineering and technical debt quantification. Dr. Izurieta received a PhD in Computer Science from Colorado State University and has approximately 16 years experience working for various R&D labs at Hewlett Packard and Intel Corporation.

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Michael Trenk Montana State University

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Michael is a student at Montana State University currently pursuing his Masters degree in Computer Science. His interests include distributed systems, computer networks, software engineering and software development methodologies. He also enjoys exploring technologies and solutions for solving big data problems.

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MacKenzie O'Bleness Montana State University

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MacKenzie O'Bleness is a Junior at Montana State University majoring in computer science and minoring in math and computer engineering. She plans to graduate in April, 2017. Ms. O'Bleness has two years of experience as a Quality Assurance and Software Development intern. Her primary research interest is methods for recruitment and retention of underrepresented demographics in the computer science industry.

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Sharlyn Gunderson-Izurieta Montana State University

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Sharlyn has been the Demand Generation Coordinator at the Computer Science Department since 2013. Previous professional experience includes four years as the Coordinator for the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council, 15 years working at Colorado State University and Montana State University in the field of International Education. She also coordinated the international visitor program for the Montana Center for International Visitors in Bozeman, Montana, study abroad program in Colorado, and Co-Director of the American Cultural Exchange – Language Institute at Seattle Pacific University. Sharlyn is a graduate of Montana State University with a BA in English Literature, an MA from the University of Northern Colorado in Special Education, and an MA in Geography from the University of Wyoming.

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Teaching software development in environments that mimic industry practices is essential for teaching applicable real-word development skills. In addition, these delivery-based projects engage students in meaningful design work that encourages clear, sustainable code. The Software Factory has provided such projects and environment to students at Montana State University (MSU) since the 2014 academic year. This project aimed to explore the effectiveness of such instruction for high school students with limited programming experience. Students from Bozeman High School, Bozeman, Montana, were selected to work in a team with two MSU undergraduate students with the goal of creating an Android application over the course of a summer semester. In the process, these high school students were exposed to Java, sorting algorithms, version control, and software development practices in an industry setting. This experiential report describes the experiences of the team, the challenges and rewards of using this teaching method – the Software Factory – and how the program provided a real-world experience for high school students in the early stages of their computing education. In addition, after concluding two projects, the latter of which is described in this manuscript, the Software Factory staff plans to continue to reach out to high school students, and has been approached by four private high tech companies, and two startup efforts. The Software Factory complements the demand generation strategies program in the Computer Science Department by providing a unique approach to outreach. The goal of demand generation strategies is to promote and increase enrollment in computing-related career fields at higher education institutions in Montana. Although this is a work in progress, the outcomes of the Software Factory approach as it relates to K-12 students are demonstrable and have surpassed expectations. The high school students were excited about programming in the context of a real world setting, presented and were the subject of a Q&A session at a graduate level seminar, produced a working prototype of an Android application, and one of the participating students is now enrolled in computer science at Montana State University. The participating high school will select new students to participate in the summer of 2016.

Izurieta, C., & Trenk, M., & O'Bleness, M., & Gunderson-Izurieta, S. (2016, June), The Effectiveness of Software Development Instruction Through the Software Factory Method for High School Students (Work In Progress) Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26141

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