Title: Designing And Analyzing Open Application-Oriented Labs in Software-Verification Education Annual Conference of European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). Enschede (the Netherlands)
Written by: A. Rogalla and T. Kamph and U. Bulmann and K. Billerbeck and M. Blumreiter and S. Schupp
in: Proceedings of the 48th Annual SEFI Conference September 2020
Volume: 49 Number:
on pages: 444-453
how published:
Organization: Annual Conference of European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). Enschede (the Netherlands)



Abstract: The daily work of a software engineer frequently includes the design and implementation of systems in non-software-engineering disciplines, like medical technology, often in interdisciplinary teams. In order to successfully select and apply the appropriate theoretical concept to perform the task, it is necessary to understand the actual problem, possibly outside one’s personal subject area, and to find an appropriate abstraction. However, software-engineering education often focuses on the theoretical concepts alone, ignoring the necessary skills to solve interdisciplinary tasks. We argue that the use of open, application-oriented labs creates a synergetic effect in understanding of theoretical concepts and the ability to apply them to solve practical issues. The subject of this study is a lab in the master’s program module “Software Verification” at a German university of technology. Therein, student groups solve openly-formulated, application-oriented modeling tasks in the field of medical technology. In this paper, we present the design and an analysis of this lab by means of a student questionnaire after completion of the lab and a document analysis of 32 laboratory reports. Our survey results show that more than 90 % of the respondents state that the practical labs helped them to understand the theoretical content of the lectures. The evaluation of the lab reports shows that around half of the student groups were able to understand, abstract, and model the task correctly. We conclude that the inclusion of open, application-oriented labs in software-engineering education is beneficial to both, understanding of theoretical concepts and ability to solve interdisciplinary tasks

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