Computer Science Seminar, Charles Wallace (Michigan Technological University): 'Preparing students for communication-intensive software development through inquiry, critique and reflection'

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM (ET)
ESC 638
Event Type
Academic Calendar
Janet Burge,, x2413
Math/CS Computer Science Seminar

Abstract: Among software professionals, the quality of team communication is widely acknowledged to be a key factor in the success or failure of software projects. The inherent mutability and intangibility of software, coupled with the intense rate of change in the software workplace, demand attentiveness and precision in oral and written communication. Students in CISE programs need training from communication specialists and practice in the particular genres common to their future profession. Successful communication in the workplace, however, requires more than technical mastery of common genres presented in isolation; while a software process model can provide guidelines, there is no comprehensive, rote communication workflow. Developers must make strategic communication decisions, and they must be agile ? flexible, proactive, and creative ? in these decisions. We envision an enhanced undergraduate curriculum for CISE programs that promotes agile communication through practice in inquiry, critique and reflection, grounded in authentic software development settings. Communication-intensive activities are woven through this curriculum in a variety of ways. The POGIL framework provides a structured approach to inquiry. Automated feedback on test coverage, programming style and code documentation are provided through CanvasTA, a novel tool integrated into the Canvas LMS, supplementing instructor feedback with continual critique of code and documentation. A program of guided inquiry through real case studies of software communication prepare students for their team software activities, and a series of reflective exercises leads them to focus on their own team communication practices.

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