June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Software Engineering Division
Many courses offered by the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) rely heavily on lectures as the primary vehicle of instruction. This is even true of courses that should emphasize student project work. Many computing (CS, IS, SE, CE) students are turned off by this sterile delivery of material prior to beginning their senior capstone projects. We have noticed gaps in students’ software engineering abilities when they begin their capstone projects. It is not always the case that students were not exposed to the necessary concepts in previous courses, but rather they that were not asked to apply these skills in project settings. In the past, instructors (and employers) have relied on just-in-time learning to fill in these holes. Many engineering educators regard experiential learning as the best way to train the next generation of engineers. This requires engineering programs to go beyond simply offering industry-based capstone courses and internships. It is our belief that introducing active learning opportunities prior to the senior year can improve software engineering education at the undergraduate level. This will also increase the pool of new professionals with practical software engineering knowledge and skills.
This paper describes the authors’ experiences introducing active learning opportunities in junior level software engineering courses. The project team critically examined existing software engineering courses at our institutions and created new active learning style instructional materials for selected course topics. We devised delivery strategies that incorporated academic research findings and industry best practices. Based on our assessment data, we believe that students participating in the activities created for our courses are better equipped with fundamental theoretical knowledge and invaluable hands-on experiences that can measurably increase their ability to contribute to the software industry.
The materials created for these courses were developed using a variation of the ADDIE (analyze, design, development, implementation, evaluation) process model. When new materials needed to be created the team attempted to determine the best mix of case-study review, role play, hands-on exercises involving work with software engineering artifacts or tools, and trigger videos to facilitate coverage of the topics. The activities used in these courses have been used successfully with several groups of students. Their evolution benefited from feedback provided by students, faculty, and our industrial partners.
Maxim, B. R., & Acharya, S., & Brunvand, S., & Kessentini, M. (2017, June), WIP: Introducing Active Learning in a Software Engineering Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29132
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