Software Quality: From Theory to Practice

Richardson, I. and Delaney, Y. (2010) Software Quality: From Theory to Practice. [Conference Proceedings]


For over ten years, the first author of this paper (IR) has been teaching Software Quality in the traditional fashion where students are presented with materials through lecture and tutorial format. Her experience has been that concepts are difficult to convey, particularly if the students do not have prior industrial experience. Additionally, standards are topics which can become very boring to teach and learn. These difficulties have resulted in an uninteresting learning environment where it is hard to gauge what learning, if any, has been undertaken by the students. Therefore, in conjunction with the second author (YD), a problem-based learning practitioner and researcher, we investigated what other teaching methodologies could be used to improve the situation. This has resulted in IR implementing a problem-based learning instructional approach in the classroom during academic year 2009-2010. Through focusing on software systems within hospitals, students within a software quality class have developed a software quality plan supported by an academic paper. Analysing the implementation of PBL in the class, we demonstrate that students have developed a greater understanding of software quality concepts and standards. consistent with the findings of Hmelo-Silver, it has also resulted in students experiencing and learning competencies such as team working, presentation and discussion, which are required in an industrial environment.

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