The software enterprise: practicing best practices in software engineering education

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14 Scopus citations


Software engineering educators emphasize teaching concepts in software engineering principles and then applying them in the context of a capstone project. Capstone experiences often focus on leveraging a popular process model. The emphasis on process provides a structure for coordinating team activity, with an objective of demonstrating to the student the value of following a process model. We contend that more emphasis is required on detailed process execution than is given proper due. Specifically, best practices are now emphasized in the software engineering profession over rigid process structures, and as educators we must respond to this cultural shift by teaching the role of best practices in a broader applied process context. Our approach in the Software Enterprise, our multi-year capstone sequence at Arizona State University Polytechnic, is to provide a process structure, teach best practices, and then give teams just enough rope' to resolve issues by leveraging the process, best practices, and soft skills. The Software Enterprise presents a unique, iterative accelerator for presenting software engineering from concepts through to applied practice. This pedagogical model allows us to present, practice, and apply best practices in the context of real scalable projects, resulting in better contextual learning for our students. In this paper we describe the machinery for teaching software engineering in this manner and present some preliminary survey results evaluating how well Enterprise students apply these skills in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-716
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008


  • Engineering education
  • Software engineering capstone
  • Software enterprise
  • Software process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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