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Team-oriented software practicum

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3 Author(s)
Schlimmer, J.C. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., Washington State Univ., Pullman, WA, USA ; Fletcher, J.B. ; Hermens, L.A.

New computer science graduates are inadequately prepared to apply their abstract knowledge, and they have rarely worked in the teams required in modern business. To remedy these shortcomings and alleviate the low motivation that often accompanies the first years of college, we proposed that a pilot group of entering freshmen should be formed into a four-year experimental team. Unlike traditional course-at-a-time approaches, this supplements the existing curriculum by integrating material across courses through team construction of software projects. Under the guidance of faculty and graduate student mentors, students work cooperatively on projects related not just to programming but to the entire lifecycle of software production, from market analysis to revision based on technical support. Initial projects are team-oriented and scaled to the capabilities of entering students while final projects span the product development cycle and involve several semesters of effort. Industrial representatives provide a practical perspective by presenting seminars on special topics and evaluating student projects in light of professional standards. This type of experiment provides the industrial community with students better prepared to face the challenges of professional software development. It also offers consolidated learning, enhanced student retention, significant student-faculty involvement, and the potential to identify learning experiences that may be usefully integrated into existing courses

Published in:

Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:37 ,  Issue: 2 )