June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Software Engineering Constituent Committee
11.1331.1 - 11.1331.9
The Software Enterprise: Facilitating the Industry Preparedness of Software Engineers
The traditional software engineering instruction model asks students to first take survey-of-the- field style course that exposes them to a breadth of software engineering practices and processes but typically lacks depth in any given area. The results are students who can recite the basic principles, but who lack the comprehension to apply them. These types of courses are then followed by courses that delve into a specific process area in significant depth, for example a Software Design or a Software Quality Assurance course. These courses focus on deep skills development within the narrow process area. Students then complete the program with the capstone project, which asks them to apply this knowledge in a full semester project. Students do not get exposure to the full engineering process spectrum in a manner that allows them to apply the deeper skillsets they may have developed in a particular area. The results are students who can claim knowledge of a particular skill, but lack the context in which to apply this knowledge. A typical conversation an interviewer might have with a graduating student might be “well, yes I did a few use cases in my Software Requirements class, but no I have not done one of that size nor do I understand how to use that model to drive analysis and test planning.” This paper presents an alternative approach underway at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus. In this approach, students are accelerated through the knowledge, comprehension, application levels through a hybrid teaching and learning model that combines multiple pedagogical approaches with a process-guided exposure to software engineering.
1. The Software Enterprise: An Overview
In the Division of Computing Studies (DCST) at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus (ASUP), we have adopted a highly iterative, immersive approach to teaching software engineering. This approach, dubbed “The Software Enterprise”, is a four semester course sequence taken by juniors and seniors (and in some cases graduate students). The course sequence leads students through “Tools and Process”, “Construction and Transition”, “Inception and Elaboration”, and “Project and Process”. By the conclusion of the Enterprise sequence, students have an appreciation for the role of software process, the challenges of software maintenance, the impact of open source, the pros and cons of off-the-shelf software integration, business considerations in building software, and other practical aspects of software development. Table 1 summarizes the topics covered in each course of the sequence.
The Software Enterprise combines the presentation and practice of software engineering concepts with project activity. Instead of gaining exposure to software engineering discipline areas in separate courses and then applying them in a later semester in a capstone course, the sequence provides the initial exposure to concepts, follows it with in-depth problem solving, and asks students to apply the knowledge immediately in an ongoing, significantly challenging project. We elaborate on this approach in the next section.
Gannod, B., & Gary, K., & Koehnemann, H. (2006, June), The Software Enterprise: Facilitating The Industry Preparedness Of Software Engineers Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1357
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