To provide engineering students with adequate practical knowledge of software engineering processes, instructors Alex Baker, Emily Oh Navarro, Andrévan der Hoek of the University of California, Irvine, have designed an experimental card game for students.
Software engineering courses usually consist of passive lectures and a small software engineering project, but it is usually limited by time and scope requirements. ‘Problems and Programmers’, an educational card game, addresses these problems. While lectures and small projects remain completely necessary to teach theory and provide students with opportunities to produce deliverables, the card game could certainly enrich the curriculum.
The card game is designed as a competitive game in which students become project leaders in the same company. Each player has the same project specifications; the first player to complete the project wins. Players must also balance concerns as they work towards their end goal, including balancing the budget and demands of the clients.
The instructors tested the game with a group of students who had passed an introductory software engineering course and collected their feedback on the game as a pedagogical tool. Overall, they found that most of the students thought the game was helpful for teaching the software engineering process and reinforcing knowledge of the software engineering process taught in class. Most agreed that it should be incorporated as a standard or optional part of the software engineering course because it was an enjoyable experience. While there may be a bit of a steep learning curve with the original version, the instructors say there is scope to develop a new version as well as an automated digital version of the game.
To download the original cards and read the game’s rules, see their website: problemsandprogrammers.com
Alex Baker, Emily Oh Navarro, and André van der Hoek. “An experimental card game for teaching software engineering processes.” Journal of Systems and Software Vol. 75 No. 1–2 (2005): 3-16
ISSN 0164-1212, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2004.02.033. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0164121204000378