Incorporating Free/Open-Source Data and Tools in Software Engineering Education

Incorporating Free/Open-Source Data and Tools in Software Engineering Education

Liguo Yu (Indiana University South Bend, USA), David R. Surma (Indiana University South Bend, USA) and Hossein Hakimzadeh (Indiana University South Bend, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7230-7.ch022
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Abstract

Software development is a fast-changing area. New methods and new technologies emerge all the time. As a result, the education of software engineering is generally considered not to be keeping pace with the development of software engineering in industry. Given the limited resources in academia, it is unrealistic to purchase all the latest software tools for classroom usage. In this chapter, the authors describe how free/open-source data and free/open-source tools are used in an upper-level software engineering class at Indiana University South Bend. Depending on different learning objectives, different free/open-source tools and free/open-source data are incorporated into different team projects. The approach has been applied for two semesters, where instructor's experiences are assembled and analyzed. The study suggests (1) incorporating both free/open-source tools and free/open-source data in a software engineering course so that students can better understand both development methods and development processes and (2) updating software engineering course regularly in order to keep up with the advance of development tools and development methods in industry.
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Open-source software has been widely used in education (Lazic et al., 2011; Hoeppner & Boag, 2011), especially in computer science education. In software engineering field, open-source software has special usages. Because nowadays, software development largely depends on tools, which are computer software program that can facilitate the analysis, design, implementation, testing, and project management in software development. In other words, to be considered as a modern software engineer, one must know how to use various CASE (computer aided software engineering) tools.

Given the limited resources in academia, it is unrealistic to purchase all the latest commercial development tools for classroom usage. Therefore, open-source tools provide an opportunity for students to explore the latest technology development in software industry. Moreover, both the commercial software source code and commercial software development data are not accessible for most academic institutions. Without examining real-world source code and real-world development data, it is unlikely that the academia could deliver students the high standard knowledge and skills expected by the industry.

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