Asee peer logo

WIP: Active Learning Exercises to Promote System Performance Testing

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Software Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Division

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Walter W Schilling Jr. Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Walter Schilling is a Professor in the Software Engineering program 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 Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation 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 software 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 computer organization, secure software development practices, network security, software verification, real time systems, and operating systems, as well as teaching embedded systems software development.

visit author page


Brad Dennis Milwaukee School of Engineering

visit author page

Dr. Brad Dennis is a new Software Engineering faculty member at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He received is PhD. from Auburn University where also received his Master of Software Engineering and Bachelor of Software Engineering. He has over 20 years of experience in a diverse set of industries, including defense, healthcare, and most recently, professional training for network engineers.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The verification of system performance is a major aspect necessary to ensure the proper operation of software systems. In numerous, high-profile cases, deployed systems, such as e-commerce sites and the website, have failed due to performance related issues. The IEEE Software Engineering SE2014 document encourages software engineering programs to cover multiple forms of testing, ranging from unit tests through performance tests. Unit testing, at one extreme of this range, is easily taught as it focuses on small scopes and detailed functionality. Another type of testing, integration tests, can also be easily expressed based upon sequence diagrams. These two items must have deep coverage per the curriculum guidelines. However, at the other end of this spectrum is performance testing. Performance testing is much harder to teach, while also needing much less coverage per the IEEE SE2014 guidelines. This article will define a set of active learning exercises which were developed to aid in the understanding of performance testing. These exercises allow students to execute performance tests and analyze the results, while not requiring students to develop any performance tests. In each case, the performance behaviors are readily traced back to design and implementation decisions made which significantly limit the scalability of the systems under test. This article will describe our experiences with implementing the exercises, as well as provide feedback from students who have used the module to learn about performance testing.

Schilling, W. W., & Dennis, B. (2017, June), WIP: Active Learning Exercises to Promote System Performance Testing Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29130

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015