Student perspectives on learning through developing software for the real world
2011 Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)
From a student's perspective, the standard computer science curriculum can effectively develop fundamental software design principles and techniques, but may struggle to fully prepare students for professional practice. Real-world projects require many skills that are challenging to foster in the classroom, including the ability to implement large applications, interact professionally with others, and independently learn new concepts. Undergraduate programs have attempted to develop these
... ies through capstone classes and by encouraging participation in co-ops and internships. At Ohio State University, nearly a dozen students have attempted to foster these abilities by doing long-term, real-world, large-scale, commercial-grade software development projects. The first such project recently released an iPhone-based, stadium-centric infotainment application to end-users in time for the 2010 football season. This paper, whose first author is an undergraduate computer science student, captures, from a student's perspective, the educational benefits of ongoing and real-world projects over the more traditional approaches. Following an examination of the educational impacts of these projects relative to the impacts of co-ops, internships and capstone classes, results suggest that long-term, real world projects are a valuable and synergistic component of an undergraduate education in computer science.