Medium size project model: Variations on a theme
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This paper describes some recent variations on a tested theme for teaching Software Engineering in an undergraduate Computer Science program. This theme is referred to here as the Medium-Size Project Model. It has been used as the basis for an introductory Software Engineering course which has been evolving for the last 7+ years at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The course features 3-way reality in that it uses real software development projects supplied by real customers, and the projects are conducted under realistic schedule and cost constraints in a simulated computer industry environment. Small teams of students acting as a software development company develop a software product for a customer in one semester. The scope of the software development effort is from proposal through software test and customer sell-off. Complete documentation is required, including everything from the proposal through to the customer sell-off document. A short project history is also required. The software product is expected to be developed at a "profit". Project status is monitored by frequent team presentations which cover cost and schedule as well as technical issues. Software engineering lectures are synchronized and interleaved with project reviews. Customer, student, and other feedback indicates that the course has been very successful. The 3-way reality feature is a basic reason for this success. The theme is readily portable to other educational environments, and it allows many interesting implementation variations. Current variations in the six areas of project generation, project selection, instructor roles, student team and role assignments, technical documentation, and grading bases are described.
KeywordsSoftware Engineer Project Generation Project Selection Role Assignment Student Team
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