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  • This talk is about a new Graduate Software Engineering Reference Curriculum (GSwERC – pronounced “guess work”) which has been under development since May 2007, with work beginning in earnest in August 2007. GSwERC is a REFERENCE curriculum, not an absolute statement of requirements. It is a set of recommendations to universities on the best guidance that the authors could generate, incorporating extensive review comments from the broad community. We do not expect everyone to adopt all the recommendations. Some programs will not be able to adopt every recommendation because their program is too small, their marketplace doesn’t support it, their faculty cannot teach all the recommended material, and a myriad of other legitimate reasons. We believe that GSwERC sets the “gold standard” for graduate software engineering education. We will work with the community to help them adopt it in a sensible way tailored to each institution’s needs.
  • Points to motivate integrating systems engineering in a substantial way into software engineering reference curriculum. Rechtin was one of the giants in the development of systems engineering and systems architecture.
  • The rest of these slides are primarily around the first product. We are in preliminary stages of discussion with DoD to sponsor the second product beginning later in 2009.
  • Seven steps to the GSwERC project. We have completed Steps 1, 2, and 4. We are always doing Step 3. We are writing GSwERC 1.0 now (Step 5) and working on Steps 6 and 7. We are generally on schedule.
  • Study showed wide diversity in what is required/semi-required (>50% chance it is required) in master’s programs in software engineering. Schools were primarily in the U.S., but also included 3 from outside U.S. While some diversity is clearly good, especially at the graduate level, the high degree of diversity in today’s programs supports idea that reference curriculum is needed.
  • Author list changes slightly over time, but has largely been stable for the past year. We recently added Professor Travessos, who is representing the Brazilian Computer Society. Authors are considered “current” if they have contributed sometime in the last 9 months.
  • Most of the current authors built 0.25. GSwERC 0.25 had a set of outcomes all students should achieve at graduation, what typical students should have in the way of experience and academics when they enter the program, a curriculum architecture, a Core Body of Knowledge that all students should master by the time they graduate, and a brief analysis of how well 4 actual programs satisfy GSwERC recommendations. Rather than show the elements of version 0.25, later slides will highlight the content of 0.5. Document was reviewed by about 40 out of 150 invited reviewers. Version 0.5 responded to their review comments.
  • Publicity is critical to generate interest in authoring, reviewing, and adopting GSwERC
  • The following information is from version 0.5. Based on review comments (review of version 0.5 closed on March 15, 2009), there will be many changes throughout GSwERC. This was expected. Review was thoughtful and insightful. However, review comments did not “break” version 0.5. There is a clear path from version 0.5 to version 1.0 which the author team is now following. About 80 people reviewed version 0.5, generating more than 800 individual comments. Publication of version 1.0 is scheduled for fall 2009.
  • These are not ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS because this is a reference curriculum. They are expectations in the sense that in order to achieve the outcomes in about 11-13 semester courses, the authors believe students need to have satisfied these 3 expectations. Programs that wish their students to satisfy the GSwERC outcomes, but which do not impose these expectations, may choose “leveling” or “ramp” courses, internships, and other means to compensate. That will, of course, lengthen the duration of the master’s program for many students. The majority of programs in the 2007 survey did not require a SwE introduction class. They assumed students picked up the equivalent knowledge and skills before entering the master’s program or took a leveling course that did not count towards satisfying the degree. Only about 1/3 of surveyed programs required experience for admissions. The experience requirement was, by far, the most controversial element of the whole set of recommendations. GSwERC 1.0 is expected to retain this recommendation and provide more rationale for its inclusion, the consequences of not having experience, and implementation guidance for those universities who do not wish to adopt it but want to still come as close as possible to achieving GSwERC outcomes.
  • The tie to systems engineering is strong enough that it is reflected in an outcome. The SWEBOK does not contain information about systems engineering. Other reference material is being included in GSwERC to compensate. There were many review comments that we should more clearly include both oral and written communications skills in the outcomes. Outcome TEAM now reflects those comments, emphasizing its importance for team effort.
  • The Core Body of Knowledge (CBOK), represented in the middle of the diagram, should take up no more than 50% of the total time in the master’s program. That is the material that ALL graduate students should learn. It is specified through Bloom Levels from material taken from the SWEBOK 2004 plus supplementary material in systems engineering and other areas which are not adequately covered in the current version of the SWEBOK. Restricting learning the CBOK to 50% of the time allows universities to add their own emphasis (e.g., James Madison University puts a strong emphasis on security) and allows students to select electives based on personal interest. Achieving the 10 outcomes is not accomplished solely through learning the CBOK. All of the program together is needed to achieve the 10 outcomes. The capstone experience is a project or thesis. In most programs is likely to be a project where all the knowledge the student has learned previously can be applied to deepen the level of understanding and accomplishment.
  • Version 0.5 provided early guidance to those who wish to implement GSwERC. This is an area which will receive a lot of attention for improvement in version 1.0.
  • The collection of authors who created GSwERC cannot sustain it by themselves. Professional societies who routinely do curriculum development, maintenance, promulgation, etc. need to take over on-going support. Authors and DoD sponsor desire on-going support to be taken over by a combination of ACM, IEEE, and INCOSE.
  • GSwERC, as originally structured, may be difficult for professional societies to take over. It has information about specific programs. Restructuring of GSwERC may make this easier.

GSwErc GSwErc Presentation Transcript

  • J Barrie Thompson July 2009 [email_address] Educating the Next Generation of Software Engineers
  • Agenda
    • How the world has changed
    • The current state of software engineering education
    • Creating and disseminating a new reference curriculum
    • And next?
  • Twenty years from now, software people will be sitting at the table and the other disciplines will be sitting around the sides of the room. Eberhardt Rechtin, 1993 There are precious few interesting man-made systems whose success is not critically dependent on software. There are precious few interesting software systems anywhere whose success is not critically dependent on the developers practicing good systems engineering.
  • What do we teach for a master’s degree in software engineering?
    • The last effort to create a reference curriculum for graduate software engineering education was by the SEI in the early 1990s.
    • There are, in effect, no current community-endorsed recommendations on what to teach software engineers – nothing that recognizes how the world has changed.
    • Response: create a project to create a new reference curriculum in software engineering
  • The Integrated Software and Systems Engineering Curriculum Project
    • Begun in May 2007 at Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Sponsored by DoD Director of Systems and Software Engineering
    • Three products planned:
        • A modern reference curriculum for a master’s degree in software engineering that integrates an appropriate amount of systems engineering
        • A modern reference curriculum for a master’s degree in systems engineering that integrates an appropriate amount of software engineering
        • A truly interdisciplinary degree that is neither systems nor software engineering – it is both
  • 1 st Project – Graduate Software Engineering Reference Curriculum
    • Understand the current state of SwE graduate education (November 2007)
    • Create GSwERC 0.25 with a small team, suitable for limited review (February 2008)
    • Publicize effort through conferences, papers, website, etc (continuous)
    • Create GSwERC 0.50 suitable for broad community review and early adoption (October 2008)
    • Create GSwERC 1.0 suitable for broad adoption (2009)
    • Transition stewardship to professional societies (2009)
    • Foster adoption world-wide (2009 and beyond)
  • SWEBOK coverage* in 2007 across 28 SwE MS programs *Coverage in required and semi-required courses
  • The current author team
    • Rick Adcock, Cranfield University and INCOSE participant
    • Mark Ardis, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Larry Bernstein, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Barry Boehm, University of Southern California
    • Pierre Bourque , École de technologie supérieur e and SWEBOK volunteer
    • John Bracket, Boston University
    • Murray Cantor, IBM
    • Lillian Cassel, Villanova and ACM participant
    • Robert Edson, ANSER
    • Richard Fairley, Colorado Technical University
    • Dennis Frailey, Raytheon & Southern Methodist University
    • Gary Hafen, Lockheed Martin and NDIA participant
    • Thomas Hilburn, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    • Greg Hislop, Drexel University and IEEE Computer Society participant
    • Dave Klappholz, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Philippe Kruchten, University of British Columbia
    • Phil Laplante, Pennsylvania State University, Great Valley
    • Scott Lucero, Department of Defense
    • Qiaoyun ( Liz) Li, Wuhan University, China
    • James McDonald, Monmouth University
    • John McDermid, University of York, UK
    • Ernest McDuffie, National Coordination Office for NITRD
    • Bret Michael, Naval Postgraduate School
    • Ken Nidiffer, Software Engineering Institute
    • Art Pyster, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Mary Shaw, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Robert Suritis , IBM
    • Richard Thayer , California State University at Sacramento
    • Barrie Thompson, Sunderland University, UK
    • Guilherme Travassos, Brazilian Computer Society, Brazil
    • Richard Turner, Stevens Institute of Technology
    • Joseph Urban, Texas Technical University
    • Ricardo Valerdi, MIT & INCOSE participant
    • David Weiss, Avaya
    • Mary Jane Willshire, Colorado Technical University
  • Creating GSwERC 0.25
    • Understand the current state of SWE graduate education (November 2007)
    • Create GSwERC 0.25 with a small team, suitable for limited review (February 2008)
    • Publicize effort through conferences, papers, website, etc (continuous)
    • Create GSwERC 0.50 suitable for broad community review and early adoption (October 2008)
    • Create GSwERC 1.0 suitable for broad adoption (2009)
    • Transition stewardship to professional societies (2009)
    • Foster adoption world-wide (2009 and beyond)
  • Publicize effort
    • Understand the current state of SWE graduate education (November 2007)
    • Create GSwERC 0.25 with a small team, suitable for limited review (February 2008)
    • Publicize effort through conferences, papers, website, etc (continuous)
    • Create GSwERC 0.50 suitable for broad community review and early adoption (October 2008)
    • Create GSwERC 1.0 suitable for broad adoption (2009)
    • Transition stewardship to professional societies (2009)
    • Foster adoption world-wide (2009 and beyond)
  • Publicize effort
    • Past and planned presentations and workshops at numerous conferences, including:
      • NDIA Systems Engineering Conferences 2007, 2008, and 2009; INCOSE International Symposium 2008 and 2009, ASEE 2008, Asian-Pacific INCOSE Conference 2008, SIGCSE 2008 and 2009, ICSE 2009, CSEET 2009, …
    • Short articles and announcements in SEWORLD, INCOSE Insight, …
    • Full article on survey of existing programs to appear in IEEE Software in fall 2009
    • Website at www.GSwERC.org
    • Additional full articles in IEEE and ACM magazines planned
  • Creating GSwERC 0.50 and 1.0
    • Understand the current state of SWE graduate education (November 2007)
    • Create GSwERC 0.25 with a small team, suitable for limited review (February 2008)
    • Publicize effort through conferences, papers, website, etc (continuous)
    • Create GSwERC 0.50 suitable for broad community review and early adoption (October 2008)
    • Create GSwERC 1.0 suitable for broad adoption (2009)
    • Transition stewardship to professional societies (2009)
    • Foster adoption world-wide (2009 and beyond)
  • Expectations at entry (from version 0.5+)
    • DEGREE:
      • The equivalent of an undergraduate degree in computing or an undergraduate degree in an engineering or scientific field and a minor in computing
    • SWE COURSE:
    • The equivalent of an introductory course in software engineering
    • EXPERIENCE:
    • At least two years of practical experience in some aspect of software engineering or software development
  • Outcomes at graduation (from Version 0.5+)
    • CBOK:
      • Master the Core Body of Knowledge
    • DOMAIN:
    • Be able to apply software engineering in at least one application domain, such as finance, medical, transportation, or telecommunications, and in one application type, such as real-time, embedded, safety-critical, or highly distributed systems. That ability to apply software engineering includes understanding how differences in domain and type manifest themselves in both the software itself and in their engineering, and includes understanding how to learn a new application domain or type.
    • DEPTH:
    • Have mastered at least one knowledge area or sub-area from the Core Body of Knowledge to at least the Bloom Synthesis level.
  • Outcomes at graduation ETHICS: Be able to make ethical professional decisions and practice ethical professional behavior. SYSTEMS ENGINEERING: Understand the relationship between software engineering and systems engineering and be able to apply systems engineering principles and practices in the engineering of software. TEAM: Be able to work effectively as part of a team, including teams that may be multinational and geographically distributed, to effectively communicate both orally and in writing, and to lead in one area of project development, such as project management, requirements analysis, architecture, construction, or quality assurance.
  • Outcomes at graduation RECONCILIATION: Be able to reconcile conflicting project objectives, finding acceptable compromises within limitations of cost, time, knowledge, risk, existing systems, and organizations. PERSPECTIVE: Understand and appreciate the importance of feasibility analysis, negotiation, effective work habits, leadership, and good communication with stakeholders in a typical software development environment. LEARNING: Be able to learn and apply new models, techniques, and technologies as they emerge, and appreciate the necessity of such continuing professional development.
  • Outcomes at graduation TECHNOLOGY: Be able to analyze a current significant software technology, articulate its strengths and weaknesses, compare it to alternative technologies, and specify and promote improvements or extensions to that technology.
  • Curriculum architecture Baseline: Expected capability of CS and SE Grads BSEE and BSCS grads BSSE and BSCS grads BS + extensive experience Other degree, some experience Old degree, recent experience Business grads Prep Material Core Materials University-Specific Materials Elective Materials Capstone Experience
  • Implementation help
    • Comparison of existing graduate software engineering programs with GSwERC recommendations – know how big the gap is between recommendations and practice
    • Strategies recommended by the authors to implement GSwERC
    • Hypothetical modifications of existing programs to more fully satisfy GSwERC
  • Post-version 1.0 governance
    • Understand the current state of SWE graduate education (November 2007)
    • Create GSwERC 0.25 with a small team, suitable for limited review (February 2008)
    • Publicize effort through conferences, papers, website, etc (continuous)
    • Create GSwERC 0.50 suitable for broad community review and early adoption (October 2008)
    • Create GSwERC 1.0 suitable for broad adoption (2009)
    • Transition stewardship to professional societies (2009)
    • Foster adoption world-wide (2009 and beyond)
  • Preparing for Post 1.0 World
    • GSwERC will be delivered in 3 standalone volumes:
      • Primary curriculum recommendations – heart of GSwERC
      • Implementation guidance organized by specific programs who are compared with GSwERC, propose adopting GSwERC, or have experience adopting GSwERC
      • Implementation guidance organized by issue, such as how to recruit faculty with the right skills, or how to organize projects with significant distributed development
    • Primary recommendations are typical of what professional societies traditionally shepherd
    • Implementation guidance is less typical of what professional societies traditionally shepherd
  • Possible long-term governance
    • Need stable post-version 1.0 governance – model maintenance and adoption
    • ACM, IEEE CS, and INCOSE all participating in GSwERC creation.
    • Joint ACM, IEEE CS, and INCOSE governance model for Curriculum Recommendations is desirable with periodic updates.
    • Same societies could possibly shepherd Implementation Guidance with frequent updates, including forums, wikis, and other open collaboration structure.
    • Implementation workshops at conferences, summer faculty workshops, and other activities would promote adoption.
    • Additional endorsement by other professional societies such as the Brazilian Computer Society (which recently joined author team) would aid adoption and evolution.
  • Systems engineering curriculum
    • INCOSE sponsored a graduate systems engineering (SE) reference curriculum published in 2007.
    • The SE curriculum development process did not have the scale of participation that GSwERC has and is limited by the fact that the INCOSE SE Body of Knowledge (see http://g2sebok.incose.org) is much less robust and mature than SWEBOK.
    • INCOSE would like to mature the SE body of knowledge, which would be a strong foundation on which to base an upgraded SE curriculum.
    • The U.S. Department of Defense is considering sponsoring a project to update and mature the SE body of knowledge with INCOSE and create a mature SE reference curriculum. The effort would be similar to GSwERC with open collaborative international participation and fully shared resulting intellectual property.
    • Other professional societies would be welcome to participate.
  • Summary
    • GSwERC is on-track to deliver a fresh reference curriculum for world-wide use in 2009.
    • Professional societies have an opportunity to take ownership of the curriculum after it is published.
    • There is a need and an opportunity for a similar systems engineering project.