March 5–8, 2014 - Atlanta, GA

SIGCSE 2014 Best Paper

The SIGCSE 2014 program committee is pleased to announce the SIGCSE 2014 Best Paper!

Student Projects Are Not Throwaways: Teaching Practical Software Maintenance in a Software Engineering Course

Claudia Szabo, The University of Adelaide, Australia

The paper will be presented on Thursday, March 6th 11:35am in Hanover FG.

Paper Abstract:

Teaching software engineering through group-based project work supported by theory lectures is effective, as recognized by both academia and industry. However, in group project courses, exposing students to practical software maintenance is often overlooked in favor of having students build software from scratch under the guidance of a lecturer or client. In these projects, the software is usually delivered to the lecturer/client and no maintenance efforts are further required.

In contrast, industry projects require fresh graduates to perform maintenance exercises from the start and very rarely to build software from scratch. Approaches that propose software maintenance assignments usually focus on small codebases of very good quality, in which artificial issues are introduced by the lecturers. In this paper, we propose to enhance a group-based project course with a software maintenance assignment that uses a medium-sized, student-produced codebase with real software bugs that the students had created in previous years. Our analysis shows the effectiveness of our approach and highlights future avenues for improvement.