Computer-assisted Software Engineering Courses

K. Ala-Mutka (Finland)


Computer-assisted learning and instruction, software engineering education, large classes, programming exercises


This paper discusses tools and practices developed and used on programming courses at the Tampere University of Technology. After recognizing the most common problems on the courses we have implemented educational applications to help both students and teachers with them. With several different tools we can provide students automatic individual assistance during the time they work on programming assignments. When these tools take care of the routine support and evaluation tasks, teachers can concentrate on more advanced issues and on giving more specific instruction and feedback for the students. With this approach we have been able to include more practical programming exercises to the courses and at the same time to increase the range of programming issues covered on the courses. Computer-assisted instruction, however, brings some new considerations to the courses. Students need to change their study procedures and teachers are required to plan the implementation of their courses more carefully than before. Also tool support issues and active feedback gathering should be taken into account when bringing new technical elements to courses.

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