Evolution of a graduate software engineering capstone course - A course review

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In education projects, students sometimes have difficulty conveying their knowledge when asked to solve real problems especially when a software product is generated as an outcome. Faculty accumulated nearly 12 years of experience running a graduate software engineering capstone course perceived the need to better assist students on the learning process. Course adaptations are required, particularly considering the heterogeneity of student's background and work experience, as well as the use of current technologies and tools. The paper outlines an evolved graduate software engineering capstone course for part-time graduate professional students. The capstone course is intended to create a meaningful student experience while providing a productive environment to apply knowledge learned from the program. Moreover, the new proposal emphasizes agile methodologies and code as the primary artifact. Our main contribution is to present the evolution of this capstone course, from inception to coding, testing and deployment. The course revision includes new artifacts, such as a work breakdown structure and burndown chart, as means to improve the course learning outcomes based on lessons learned and student experience. For evaluation purposes, we selected groups of most recent capstone course sections totaling 175 students. Two learning objectives of the program were evaluated: Teamwork and critical thinking. Critical thinking was assessed via the project plan artifact. Teamwork was assessed through discussion forums, team test plans and reports. The results were positive; however, they indicate that not all elements of project planning are present in the studio course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)999-1007
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


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