An Undergraduate Course on Protocol Engineering – How to Teach Formal Methods Without Scaring Students
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At a first sight, teaching formal methods to future telecom engineers seems to be a simple task. Last-year engineering undergraduates have already taken demanding courses on Mathematics, Computer Science and Computer Networking, among other engineering-related subjects. Consequently, they should be prepared both for the theoretical foundations of formal methods and to apply them to practical problems. The benefits of formal methods would be evident, and students would rush to register in this course. However, when we designed a course shaped as the rest of the courses in our engineering school, it was a complete failure. This paper discusses this experience, and how it was re-engineered into a successful one to conclude that protocol engineering serves to teach formal methods without scaring students.
KeywordsProtocol engineering undergraduate courses Promela Spin case-based learning
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