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Development of a Project-Based Learning Approach in Requirement Engineering

Development of a Project-Based Learning Approach in Requirement Engineering

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Published by ijcsis
Project failure is due to the lack of Requirement Engineering (RE) practice. The Industry needs to allocate another cost to send their employee for additional training before the employee can contribute to the job specification. It indicates that current practices of delivery mechanisms at the university fail to deliver graduates with employability skills. The objective of this research is to identify weaknesses in current practice of teaching Software Engineering undergraduate in Requirement Engineering. Additionally, this paper emphasized that Project-Based Learning (PjBL) is a right method for delivery mechanisms to enhance Software Engineering undergraduate skills particularly in RE. The PjBL is a superset to Problem-Based Learning, Individual-Collaborative Learning and Product-Based Learning. The intersection can strongly assist in the learning environment. Future work should be carried out to design the framework of PjBL, measuring the effectiveness of PjBL and the electronic Learning eNvironment (eLIN) system as a supportive tools to make PjBL successful.
Project failure is due to the lack of Requirement Engineering (RE) practice. The Industry needs to allocate another cost to send their employee for additional training before the employee can contribute to the job specification. It indicates that current practices of delivery mechanisms at the university fail to deliver graduates with employability skills. The objective of this research is to identify weaknesses in current practice of teaching Software Engineering undergraduate in Requirement Engineering. Additionally, this paper emphasized that Project-Based Learning (PjBL) is a right method for delivery mechanisms to enhance Software Engineering undergraduate skills particularly in RE. The PjBL is a superset to Problem-Based Learning, Individual-Collaborative Learning and Product-Based Learning. The intersection can strongly assist in the learning environment. Future work should be carried out to design the framework of PjBL, measuring the effectiveness of PjBL and the electronic Learning eNvironment (eLIN) system as a supportive tools to make PjBL successful.

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(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 9, December 2010
Development of a Project-Based Learning Approachin Requirement Engineering
 Nor Azliana Akmal Jamaludin
Fakulti Industri Teknologi Maklumat,Universiti Industri Selangor (UNISEL)45600 Bestari Jaya, Selangor, Malaysianorazliana@unisel.edu.my
Shamsul Sahibuddin
Advanced Informatics School, UTM InternationalCampus, Universiti Teknologi MalaysiaJalan Semarak, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysiashamsul@utm.my
 
Kamaruzaman Jusoff 
Faculty of Forestry,Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM
 
)43400 UPM Serdang Selangor, Malaysiakamaruz@putra.upm.edu.my
 Nur Hafizah Hidayat
Fakulti Industri Teknologi Maklumat,Universiti Industri Selangor (UNISEL)45600 Bestari Jaya, Selangor, Malaysianur_hafizah @unisel.edu.my 
 Abstract
—Project failure is due to the lack of RequirementEngineering (RE) practice. The Industry needs to allocateanother cost to send their employee for additional training beforethe employee can contribute to the job specification. It indicatesthat current practices of delivery mechanisms at the universityfail to deliver graduates with employability skills. The objectiveof this research is to identify weaknesses in current practice of teaching Software Engineering undergraduate in RequirementEngineering. Additionally, this paper emphasized that Project-Based Learning (PjBL) is a right method for deliverymechanisms to enhance Software Engineering undergraduateskills particularly in RE. The PjBL is a superset to Problem-Based Learning, Individual-Collaborative Learning and Product-Based Learning. The intersection can strongly assist in thelearning environment. Future work should be carried out todesign the framework of PjBL, measuring the effectiveness of PjBL and the electronic Learning eNvironment (eLIN) system asa supportive tools to make PjBL successful.
 
Keywords-
Software Engineering education; Project-Based  Learning (PjBL); Requirement Engineering; Problem-Based 
 
 Learning; Individual & Collaborative Problem Solving and  Product-Based Learning.)
 
I.
 
I
 NTRODUCTION
 The number, size, and application domains of computer  programs have grown dramatically. As a result, hundreds of  billions are being spent on software development, and thelivelihood and lives of most people depend on the effectivenessof this development. Since the dawn of computing in the1940s, the use of computers and its applications have grown ata staggering rate. Software plays a central role in almost allaspects of our daily lives: in government, banking and finance,education, transportation, entertainment, medicine, agriculture,and law [37]. The current trend shows that students’Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) does not representtheir skill [35]. In addition, academic supply does not meet theindustry demands [17]. Recent trends with the effects of therecession, the unemployment rate is increasing. Because of thiseconomic situation, something needs to be done for thestudents to prepare themselves before entering into the work force and these new graduates must understand what skills theindustry is seeking [50]. Based on that reason, this researchcarried out the first objective that is to identify weaknesses incurrent practice of teaching Software Engineeringundergraduate in Requirement Engineering.II.
 
I
 NDUSTRY AND
S
OFTWARE
E
 NGINEERING
E
DUCATION
P
ERSPECTIVE
 
 A.
 
 Industry Collaboration
 
The report shown in Table 1 marked a decrease in projectsuccess rates, with 32% of all projects surveyed weresuccessful defined as projects delivered on time and within budget, with required features and functions. Another 44% of all projects surveyed were challenged defined as late, over  budget, and/or with less than the required features andfunctions. The remaining 24% of all projects surveyed faileddefined as cancelled prior to completion or delivery and never used [14]. In software development industry, companies willusually tackle three main problems: cost minimization, tightdeadlines and quality product. An engineering approach insoftware development will help them to overcome these problems.
298http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 9, December 2010
TABLE 1. THE TREND OVER THE PAST 15 YEARS BY STANDISHGROUP’S CHAOS (2009) REPORT.
Year ‘09(%)‘06(%)‘04(%)‘02(%)‘00(%)‘98(%)‘96(%)‘94(%)
 
SuccessfulProject
32 35 29 34 28 26 27 16
ChallengedProjects
44 19 53 15 23 28 40 31
FailedProjects
24 46 18 51 49 46 33 53
Industry needs employees who are skilled in developingnew application system, but they do not have the time or trainers to complete the training. It is supported by Bernhart etal (2006). He states that if students fail to deliver a minimumquality at the beginning, succeeding phases may receive areduced quality as a work basis. This may reduce the learningexperience in later phases [6]. Some researchers haveconcluded that businesses and universities share some similar challenges, and increased cooperation between the two entitieswill assist in shared solutions for both [15]. Therefore, studentshould be taught seriously in software development process asa field of Software Engineering [5, 25].
 B.
 
Future Challenges in Software Engineering Education
Boehm (2006) identifies future challenges in SoftwareEngineering education with his simple hypothesis: “software people don’t like to see Software Engineering doneunsuccessfully, and try to make things better”. Mead (2009)was look into the challenges from global reach of education,new creative evolution of delivery mechanism, new professional efforts and the need of engage in leadership inSoftware Engineering education [10, 13, 27, 39]. The studylooked into the curriculum of undergraduate particularly indeveloping mission-critical system and non-critical system.Furthermore, the continuous research is still looking for methods on how to maintain vitality and how to develop a newgeneration of Software Engineering educators throughconference, working groups and committees electronic publishing [10, 39]. They also encourage others to joinSoftware Engineering profession. Licensing or certificationwill become a major trend in the future and will create newspecialization. However, looking at the fundamental conceptshave not changed significantly since progress took shape somethirty years ago. As in hardware design, the technologyevolves, but the concepts remain [2]. Students usually learn best by physically doing something. Students of course will bemore interested to come to school if they think that educationis fun and beneficial in the future and not as a burden [3].
C.
 
 Improvement should be included into Software Engineering Education
Many of the skills that students are expected to have canonly be learned by doing hands-on practices. Furthermore,Jackson (2007) discussed on interacting with real customerson tight deadlines and budgets with high expectations, and being able to work effectively in an almost exclusively teamoriented environment with increasingly complex teamstructures and compositions. Software Engineering is anappropriate course to meld all of these ideas together to produce better simulates a real world environment [40]. It is because software products have helped people to be moreefficient and productive such as Collaborative ApplicationLifecycle Management Solutions from IBM Rational (2010).It make more effective problem solvers, and it provide with anenvironment for work and play which is often safer, moreflexible, and less confining. As a result, Software Engineeringcurriculum should involve five complementary elements [43]including principles practices, applications, tools andmathematics.The researcher outlines the similarity of the technologicalcharacteristics from Engineering Education that needs to beadapted into Software Engineering Education to increaseemployability. The profiles may be conveniently sketched interms of three components [42] that include knowledge, skillsand attitudes
.
However, sustainable world-class performancewill not occur if there is a misalignment between a university programmes objectives and actual market requirements. Inaddition, effective faculty wide coordination in relation tomarket driven initiatives is essential for ensuring the effectiveuse of company resources [18]. Employers now focus onadaptation, cost reduction, increased productivity, and newmarkets, products and services.III.
 
REQUIREMENT
 
ENGINEERING
 A.
 
 Requirement Engineering Challenges
Requirement Engineering (RE) practice appears to haveimproved collaboration ties and may have led to culturalchanges that values cooperation, quality, and customer satisfaction [12]. Currently the success of a software systemdepends on how well it fits the needs of its users and itsenvironment. Requirements encompass more than desiredfunctionality – users increasingly demand systems that areusable, reliable, secure and economical, while productdevelopers want to be able to adapt and enhance productsrapidly, in response to changing both user’s needs andenvironmental conditions [9]. Education become a kick-startin developing skills amongst the students (future employee) tocater the problem part (RE) before continues to solution part(other software artifacts such as design, development, testing,quality and maintenance) to improved productivity, qualityand risk management. This is because customer satisfaction isthe most pertinent priority in producing the successful product.Zave (1997) provides one of the clearest definitions of RE:“Requirements Engineering is the branch of SoftwareEngineering concerned with the real-world goals for, functionsof, and constraints on software systems. It is also concernedwith the relationship of these factors to precise specificationsof software behavior, and to their evolution over time andacross software families".
299http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 8, No. 9, December 2010
IV.
 
PROJECT-BASED
 
LEARNING
 A.
 
The Comparative Study of Universities Experience inusing PjBL
Hence, a few experiences from universities with a varietyof domain that implemented project-based works in their delivery mechanism are discussed. Firstly, TechnologicalEducation Institute of Larissa, Greece, use PjBL to allowstudents to improve their cognitive, collaborative,methodological and technical skills on Enterprise ResourcePlanning (ERP) systems through active participation inchallenging and interdisciplinary ERP projects [21].Secondly, Oregon State University in general, analyse andsynthesize the collaborative and Project-Based Learningfeatures resulted in 32 design features that were placed in thefollowing six categories: (i) learning group size, (ii) functionalspaces for learning activities, (iii) adjacencies, (iv) furnishings,(v) psychological and physiological support of the learners,and (vi) structural aspects. It can be used for architect,educator, planner and learner [51].Thirdly, Department of Computer Engineering, Bo
ğ
aziçiUniversity in subject Cmpe450 previously used lectureoriented course, small group projects were assigned tostudents, in expectation that they should apply the theory to practice and they were expected to submit well-documentedfindings. Then, they changed to emphasize the project in termsof its size, scope, complexity and grading. The project topicsincluded an e-learning system, various versions of departmentautomation portal and a purchase automation system for thewhole university. The first demonstrations were total disasters.It is after the first demonstration that they realize the severityof the expectations and what failure means. Therefore thedocumentation should be very precise to enable hiring of anadministrator for the final product. It is too hard and often notapplicable to map the theory and the practice part of the course[49].Fourthly, Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ and FairfieldUniversity in Fairfield, CT is introducing PjBL in their theoretical Software Engineering course. Local-Remote TeamOrganization and Communication Techniques (represent PjBLtool) was used in the theoretical Software Engineering course.Three of the projects were to extend existing products and one project was completely new. This research argues that studentscan be prepared to effectively join industry and keep the UStechnology workforce competitive through a curriculum thatincludes a theoretical Software Engineering course with real-world projects and the collaboration of paired teams acrosstwo or more universities. It was also appealing that all teammembers, local and remote, could have instant access to their materials from anywhere [44].Fifthly, College of Arts and Sciences (Applied Science)Universiti Utara Malaysia called the method as BlendedProject Based Learning. In support of the use of PjBL, a prototype known as md-Matrix has been used to assiststudents in choosing an appropriate development methodology based on their project requirements. The proposed decisiontool can be considered as necessary to assist the students(novice developers) in choosing an appropriate developmentmethodology for their project. The implementation of the toolin blended PjBL will not only make the decision making process more effective but also help them with better learning[45].Sixthly, Department of Mechanical Engineering,Politeknik Kota Bharu, tested Project-Based Learning module based on socio-constructivist approach in Diploma inAutomotive. The project development ran a pilot test withinsix month to explore the influence of the utilization of thePjBL module on students’ meta-cognition, motivation andself-regulation. In addition, it transforms teaching from‘lecturers/supervisors telling’ to ‘engineering students doing’.The result shows that the overall engineering students reportedhigher level of motivation, self-confidence and self-regulationthroughout the process. The PjBL also enhances the cognitiveand critical thinking in engineering problem solving amongstudents. The use of PjBL module enables students to plantheir project easily, work collaboratively with peers withminimal supervision from supervisors or lecturers andsuccessfully complete their project on time [23].Seventhly, Civil engineering degree at University of Malaya, Engineering Surveying Camp (Year-I of a four-year)test Outcome Based Education Using Project Based Learningin two-week field course. The aims are to evaluate theeffectiveness, and to identify potential improvement. The needto change the paradigm of the majority of lecturers that areused to the conventional teaching methods, which worked onwere real project to be completed within a short duration of the course. The students were primarily focused on theachievement of course outcomes. The academics, though, hadanother goal of ensuring that the project was completed withquality outputs to ensure the other aspects including the day today running of the camp, transportation, logistics, health andsafety on top of the course outcomes. The technical aspectswere achievable though with lesser degree for the engineeringdesign. On soft skills, students demonstrated an overallimprovement of competency but it was difficult to ascertainthe levels for the average students while the best and poor  performers were easily observed [24].
 B.
 
Project-Based Learning Method in Requirement  Engineering Education
Experiential method refers to the terms of evaluation or what has changed or improved as a result. Because of that,Project-Based Learning (PjBL) is a model that organizeslearning around projects. According to the definitions found inPjBL handbooks for teachers, projects are complex tasks, based on challenging questions or problems, that involvesstudents in designing, problem-solving, decision making, or investigative activities; gives students the opportunity to work relatively autonomously over extended periods of time; andculminate in realistic products or presentations [31, 48].Other defining features found in the literature includeauthentic content, authentic assessment, teacher facilitation butnot direction, explicit educational goals [38], cooperativelearning, reflection, and incorporation of adult skills [16]. Tothese features, particular models of PjBL added a number of unique features. Definitions of ‘Project-Based Instruction’
300http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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