Course analysis for Software Engineering (MVK), spring -99

Author: Karl Meinke, NADA

Below is a course analysis for the course on software engineering.

Course Data

The course was taught in spring 1999 and consisted of:
Lectures: 28 hours
Exercises: 14 hours
Coursebook: Software Engineering by Ian Sommerville (1997) (5th Ed), also "Software Engineering Standards" by C. Mazza et al. (1994)
Number of students: 42.
Student performance: first exam April '99, 32 students attended, 6 VG (pass with distinction), 26 G (pass), 0 IG (fail).
second exam September '99: 1 student attended, 1 G (pass).
Course leader: Karl Meinke
Assistents: none.


To cover all phases of the waterfall software development lifecycle. Also to cover related quality assurance issues such as formal methods. The course is intended to give assistance to the project course. In particular, a specific industrial standard for lifecycle documentation is discussed, namely the PSS 05 standard issued by the European Space Agency (ESA).


This course was much improved over the previous year. A clear improvement in student satisfaction could be seen. The ambition and level of student project work has also improved. Student grades have improved over 1998.


The course was intended to more loosely follow Sommerville's book than in 1998. Less than half of the book was used, and this mostly as backup reading. Nevertheless I felt it better to keep some sort of course book. A complete new set of slides was written, with some new themes such as real-time systems design and formal modelling using temporal logic.


Exercise classes were again used for two purposes. Partly to go through material from Mazza et al, which presents a concrete standard for documentation of the development process (PSS 05), and partly for students to present the results of their documentation work. PSS 05 also contains components of IEEE documentation standards, 828, 829, 1012, etc. Four reports were to be produced as part of the project exercise, namely a project planning document, a user requirements document, systems requirement document and an architectural design document. The project planning document was a new addition meant to allow the students further time and space to prepare for the project before starting it formally. This was a clear benefit.


Examination was by a 5 hour paper. The grades obtained indicate a suitable level of difficulty, but perhaps erring on the side of too easy?

Student questionnaire

A total of 31 returns (i.e. 99% of student participants) were received.

Here are the results of the survey.
1. Rate the clarity of lectures (förläsningar): average 3.87

1 very unclear 2 unclear 3 fair 4 clear 5 very clear

2. Rate the clarity of the course notes (kursbunt): average 3.45

1 very unclear 2 unclear 3 fair 4 clear 5 very clear

3. Rate the clarity of the lab exercises (laborationer): average 3.29
1 very unclear 2 unclear 3 fair 4 clear 5 very clear

4. Rate the usefulness of the lectures (förläsningar): average 3.48
1 very useless 2 useless 3 fair 4 useful 5 very useful

5. Rate the usefulness of the course notes (kursbunt): 3.54
1 very useless 2 useless 3 fair 4 useful 5 very useful

6. Rate the usefulness of the lab exercises (laborationer): 4.16
1 very useless 2 useless 3 fair 4 useful 5 very useful
7. Did you find the teaching in english: average 3.58
1 a great disadvantage 2 a disadvantage 3 neutral 4 an advantage

8. Were you satisfied with support in labs (redovisning, advice, etc)?: average 2.09
1 very unsatisfied 2 satisfied 3 very satisfied

9. Overall, how satisfied with the course were you? average 2.06
1 very unsatisfied 2 satisfied 3 very satisfied

10. If you could make changes to the course, how would you change it?

Some typical comments:

Kanske någon kursbok i program logik
Möjligen att ej ha hanskrivna overheadpapper, verka vara lite oproffesionellt
Mer information om logisk / fysisk enhet, skillnader
Om möjligt, de mer tid till ADD första dokument
More examples of what the documents in real life look like
Jag tycker att det ändå måste gå att ta med mer konkreta saker. Det "flummiga" är viktigt men är svårt att ta till sig i skolbänken
more detail, more of everything
clearer definition of the course
ingen tenta
Lite mer info om vad punkterna i dokumenten exact betyder
Mera övningsuppgifter
Det behövs ingen tenta!


The course went much better this year, and the level of student satisfaction has clearly increased. This is probably due to: (i) better use of audio visual material, ohp slides etc, (ii) increased experience on my part of how to run the project component and (iii) better organisation of project reporting material (PSS 05).

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