A Holistic Approach to Software Engineering Education

A Holistic Approach to Software Engineering Education

Simon Rogerson (De Montfort University, England)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-797-5.ch005
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These ideas were developed and refined in a compulsory 30-credit module for software engineering and computer science students. The module employs a number of novel techniques in delivery and assessment, as well as a number of online learning tools. These provide an exemplar environment of new educational experiences for those preparing for a career in software engineering. Also included in this chapter are summarised feedback ideas received from students and the experiences of the tutors delivering the module. This leads to a series of recommendations for future developments, which will be of interest to all involved in software engineering education.
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Ubiquity of Software

How ubiquitous software has become! Not long ago, data processing departments were the exclusive users of software. They had large and expensive computer systems on which to run their applications, which were managed by teams of information technology professionals. Many people did not even know what a computer looked like.

The arrival of personal computing changed all this. First, the desktop computer brought information technology into the home; and then, the laptop computer made it an integral part of our everyday lives. In parallel with that, the availability of processor chips put computing power into everyday objects, from cars to mobile phones, turning analogue devices into digital ones.

Nowadays, many objects rely on software to deliver their services. For example, most music is recorded, disseminated, and listened to on digital equipment. In hospitals, specialised digital devices monitor patients and help doctors to diagnose ailments. Aeroplanes can now fly without pilots on board. The common denominator in all of these examples is software. National and regional governments are another example. They have various crucial responsibilities to their communities and need complex computing systems to meet those responsibilities. At the other end of the spectrum, small organisations, with no in-house software capabilities, use off-the-shelf commercial software applications to process the data that underlie their businesses.

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