The "soft" topics in software engineering education

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Title: The "soft" topics in software engineering education
Author: Ardis, Mark; Chenoweth, Stephen; Young, Frank
Abstract: Engineering educators struggle with “soft” topics – topics which include a social element. Soft engineering topics are distinct from the scientific and mathematical underpinnings of engineering. Students frequently complain when these topics are integrated into engineering curricula. Engineering educators also express concerns that they lack both preparation and ability to teach these topics. Software engineering educators have an even greater problem. More soft topics need to be included in a good software engineering program. Furthermore, software engineering instructors need to remain current with nonsocial best practices, which can leave little time to study techniques to incorporate soft topics into the curriculum. This paper is an attempt to alleviate the problem. We organize the soft topics necessary for a good software engineering program; present exercises to include them in software engineering courses so that students develop needed abilities and understand their importance ; and describe effective ways to evaluate student performance.
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Date: 2008

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