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SEI Hosts 13th Annual Software Engineering Workshop for Educators


August 26, 2015—Software engineering educators gathered August 2-4 at the SEI’'s Pittsburgh headquarters for the 13th Software Engineering Workshop for Educators. The SEI hosts this annual event to foster an ongoing exchange of ideas among educators whose curricula include the subject of software engineering. The SEI’s Grace Lewis and Robert Nord led the workshop, which was attended by 25 educators representing institutions located in Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Russia, Slovenia, Thailand, and the United States.

The first two days of the workshop were devoted to the courses Big Data: Architectures and Technologies, taught by the SEI’s John Klein, and Designing Modern Service-Based Systems, taught by Paulo Merson, visiting scientist at the SEI. On day three, the educators participated in group sessions facilitated by SEI members. These sessions offered participants an opportunity to exchange experiences, ideas, and artifacts they’ve used to successfully introduce software engineering topics into college curricula.

The 2016 workshop marked a change from the preceding 12 years, in which the focus was solely on software architecture. “This year, the SEI renamed this workshop and broadened its scope to cover the entire field of software engineering,” explained Nord. “Architecture stills plays a central role in the software engineering curriculum, as evidenced by educators’ interest in sharing and discussing artifacts related to teaching architecture core concepts in the classroom.” Nord added that the workshop’s expanded focus provided opportunities to also discuss design and analysis, technologies, and software life cycle, as well as reflect on the teaching experience.

Lewis was pleased with the information sharing that took place among the workshop community. “Some years ago we introduced the concept of ‘shared artifact’ as the entrance fee for the workshop,” said Lewis. “The idea was for each educator to bring an artifact used in class, whether a slide set, an exam or an exercise, and share it with the group. Everyone leaves the workshop with a set of artifacts that they can use as-is with the proper attribution or with ideas on how to transform their courses.”

Workshop participants once again found the experience enriching. “I cannot emphasize enough the value of the exchanges with colleagues from all over the USA and the rest of the world during the third day, but also during breaks and social events,” said Roger Champagne of the École de technologie supérieure, Montreal, Canada. “We have too few opportunities to gather and exchange [ideas] during such events, and I am forever grateful towards the SEI for holding this workshop for thirteen years.”

Christine Hofmeister of East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was equally enthusiastic. “The tutorials are great for getting exposed to new topics, whether they are something I might directly use in class or just help keep me learning new material,” said Hofmeister. “The artifacts first of all cause me to reflect on what would be useful for me to share and that alone spurs some course improvements.” Hofmeister added that the human interaction was “invaluable.”By conducting these annual workshops, the SEI is helping educators in the field of software engineering improve its pedagogy and, consequently, improve the understanding of software engineering concepts among the hundreds of students they instruct. This understanding will help future software engineering professionals as they enter a technological environment of ever-increasing scale and complexity.