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Software engineering apprenticeship by immersion

Vincent Ribaud 1 Philippe Saliou 2 
Lab-STICC - Laboratoire des sciences et techniques de l'information, de la communication et de la connaissance, UBO - Université de Brest
Abstract : Inside the french university, there are two different education systems: a 5-year academic system and a 4-year technological system. At Brest university and in the field of computer science, both systems teach the same curriculum. A dedicated fifth year was designed and offered to the 4 year-system graduates. The main objectives are : mastering software engineering activities and skills, working in a team, coping with change. The plan of action is built on a 6-month team project, lead and tutored by an experienced software professional. The real-world environment is imitated as closely as possible. A contract defines the customer-supplier relationship. A real corporate baseline (by the courtesy of a software services company) sustains engineering activities and products delivery. This corporate baseline is tailored with a software development process, called 2-Track Unified Process, relying on UML models. The students are divided into two companies of 5 persons. Each company has its own office with individual working post and shares other common installations. Each company uses a different and complete software engineering tools suite (Oracle and Rational/IBM Websphere). The apprenticeship process is achieved in two iterations. During the first iteration (4 months), students are swapped around the different tasks needed by engineering activities and strongly guided by the tutor. During the second iteration (2 months), roles are fixed within each team and teams are relatively autonomous to complete the project, the tutor performing mainly a supervising and rescuing activity. The heart of the apprenticeship process is the iterations breakdown into work cards. Each work card defines the products to be delivered, the precise nature of services required, the helpful resources provided, the expected workload and planning. The assessment process is essentially formative, due to the permanent feedback of tutoring. Nevertheless, the awarding of a diploma needs a parallel formal assessment process. The expected abilities and skills are compared with those effectively reached. In conclusion, the professional insertion and career evolution of students need to be observed over several years in order to evaluate the real benefits of this system.
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Vincent Ribaud, Philippe Saliou. Software engineering apprenticeship by immersion . International Workshop on Patterns in Teaching Software Development, ECOOP 2003., Jul 2003, Darmstadt, Germany. pp.130-142, ⟨10.1007/978-3-540-25934-3_13⟩. ⟨hal-01451171⟩



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