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The Integration of Novel Forms of Feedback into Software Engineering Courses

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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

Software Engineering Constituent Committee Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

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Paper Authors


Walter W Schilling Jr. Milwaukee School of Engineering

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Walter Schilling is an Associate Professor in the Software Engineering and Computer Engineering programs at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his B.S.E.E. from Ohio Northern University and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Toledo. He worked for several large engineering firms in the automotive industry in the embedded systems development area 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 secure software development, parallel computing, software verification, software engineering practices, real time systems, and operating systems, as well as teaching embedded systems software and introductory programming.

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Software Engineering students exhibit a wide array of learning styles across the perception, input, organization, processing, and understanding dimensions. To improve students’ performance in the classroom, many techniques have been developed to address these variances. Active learning has a long history of usage in the software engineering classroom, and the disciplines strong history of diagramming and visual representations have been very supportive to the large percentage of students who are visual learners. Coaching by faculty in project based courses also is common in the discipline. However, when it comes to providing feedback to students on formally submitted assignments, the main method employed is still written comment, which is not conducive to visual learners. Written comments are embedded in source and marked on design diagrams, using annotations or colors to distinguish them from the original work. This method is most prevalent in the community because overall, it is the simplest form of feedback that a faculty member can provide to students. However, written feedback is often highly ineffective at improving student performance, as many students simply do not read the comments because the students feel they are not relevant to their performance.

This survey paper presents an assessment of an alternative methods of providing feedback to students using audio-visual techniques. In lieu of written feedback, students are provided feedback for software engineering exercises through the use of short multimedia files. The article describes the pedagogical foundations for the technique, specifics of the technique used, student perceptions of the technique, and an assessment of the learning gains from using such a method across several software engineering courses. In general, students are shown to prefer the technique versus traditional grading, and an improvement in overall outcomes for the course is shown to exist as well.

Schilling, W. W. (2016, June), The Integration of Novel Forms of Feedback into Software Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26197

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