Teaching software quality assurance by encouraging student contributions to an open source web-based system for the assessment of programming assignments

TitleTeaching software quality assurance by encouraging student contributions to an open source web-based system for the assessment of programming assignments
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGotel, O, Scharff, C, Wildenberg, A
Conference Name13th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Conference LocationMadrid, Spain
Abstract

Authors' abstract: This paper presents a novel and innovative pedagogical approach for teaching software quality assurance in the undergraduate computer science curriculum. The approach is based on students contributing programming problems to an open source web-based system that is used for student practice and instructor assessment of assignments. WeBWorK, and some of the latest web-based systems, use a mechanism based on unit testing to account for variation in the way in which the same problem can be answered in an accurate manner, making such systems highly appealing for education. Tackling open-ended programming problems within WeBWorK therefore requires students to write a code fragment that is then checked for semantic correctness. Given that WeBWorK is open source, the teaching approach that we have evolved revolves around students creating their own problems for other students to practice with. This requires students to construct comprehensive unit tests that can assure both the usability and accuracy of their work prior to deployment. The paper describes this approach, gives examples of student work, presents findings from the experience of using the approach in the classroom, and discusses broader lessons and reasons for integrating software quality assurance practices into the computer science curriculum.

URLhttp://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1384271&picked=prox&CFID=343342949&CFTOKEN=30279126
DOI10.1145/1384271.1384329