Together we stand : Group projects for integrating software engineering in the curriculum
Software engineering is done by individuals within teams and in organisations, with all that those words imply. It is crucial to make this fact, and its implications, concrete to students who aspire to be or work with software engineers. Although frequent collaborations are encouraged throughout degree programmes, final-year group projects remain the favoured mechanism for achieving this goal. This paper describes and reflects on our experience of introducing group projects to balance theory, technology and practice into five different degree programmes. A novel facet of our approach has been to locate these projects in the context of a course on software project management in parallel with the preparation of capstone, individual projects. Hence, the final-year group projects are viewed as essential complements to the individual projects and together they encapsulate the theories and systematic practices of software projects we know as software engineering. We argue that this approach injects realism into what might have been seen by students as abstract primarily by providing students with experience of working as part of a team and so enabling them to engage with large and significant projects.