Jody Paul Teaches Software Engineering Practices

Jody Paul (2017-11 POSSE alum) relates his experiences in the first two weeks of teaching 2 sections of Software Engineering Practices. We hope to hear more from Jody as the course progresses!

“I’m the instructor for 2 sections of Software Engineering Practices, a senior experience/project course aimed at graduating seniors in computer science. Software Engineering Practices primarily involves software development project work and generating associated artifacts for a professional portfolio. The prerequisite for this course is Software Engineering Principles, in which students have the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in software engineering and to experience guided practice in team-based software development.

This will be the first time that the projects are directed toward HFOSS project core contributions. (Some previous efforts have involved developing new plug-ins, but nothing that required close coupling with a FOSS project itself.)

So far (the first two weeks):

    • In ad hoc teams of size 3 or 4, students engaged in the evaluation of HFOSS projects, based on
      • Post-activity reflections indicated that students believed the experience was extremely valuable, providing insight into open source and software project considerations.
    • In ad hoc teams of size 2 or 3, students experienced a standard workflow for contributing to a GitHub-hosted project, based on
      • No teams completed all steps of the activity in 90 minutes. Most would have benefited from ~20 minutes of additional time or a precursor activity.
      • Post-activity reflections indicated that participants all felt activity was useful, including those who already had “significant familiarity” with GitHub.
    • Students have formed working teams for the rest of the semester.
      • Each team is comprised of 4 or 5 students.
      • There are 9 teams across the 2 sections.
      • Each team has identified its project of interest, taking into consideration the evaluations, group dynamics, and personal preferences.

Projects chosen by working teams include: Mediawiki Accessibility, Moodle, Mozilla Tools, OpenMRS, and SugarLabs. (The first three are specifically accessibility-focused.)

I had been hoping for a smaller set, but decided against imposing that inter-team constraint. Fortunately, several projects were chosen by at least 2 of the teams.

It’s scary for me; but, students are engaged and excited!

I am truly thankful for the POSSE experience and contributed materials!!!”

Dr. Jody Paul
Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Metropolitan State University of Denver

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