How to Create a Credible Software Engineering Bachelor's Program: Navigating the Waters of Program Development

How to Create a Credible Software Engineering Bachelor's Program: Navigating the Waters of Program Development

Stephen Frezza (Gannon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-102-5.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter presents a case study in the development of a Software Engineering (SE) Bachelor’s Degree program. It outlines issues in SE program development, various means to address those issues, and explains how the issues were addressed in the initial and ongoing development of an undergraduate SE program. By using SEEK and SWEBOK as requirements sources to define what an undergraduate software engineer needs to know, the authors walk through the creation of a sample curriculum at a small, comprehensive university in the United States. Both the current and initial curricula are presented. The article discusses many items to consider in the process of planning and launching a new BSSE program, such as accreditation, curriculum guidelines, sources of information, and potential problems.
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Issues In Se Program Development

Developing a new undergraduate program, particularly one like Software Engineering that does not have long-established definitions can be (and for us was) a delicate business. Among the key stakeholders for a new SE program, the requirements for what belongs in such a major may not be well understood, or easily communicated. In all, our program development effort was similar to many of our software development experiences, in that the requirements management activities were significant, messy, and working to resolve them early proved worthwhile. Our undergraduate software engineering program, at the time of writing, has been developed, launched, gone through several on-going outcomes reviews, and we are currently preparing our first accreditation self-assessment.

Based on our reflection on the issues we encountered, and our post-design assessments, some of the key issues we’ve found in developing a new SE program include:

  • Organization: Determining where the program is housed or sponsored within the institution

  • Vision: Defining the style, or professional focus of the program

  • Accreditation: Applying international and national standards to ensure program quality

  • Curriculum: Designing the academic plan for students to meet or exceed the vision, and

  • Finding help: Locating contacts to support program development

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