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Success Factors for Using Case Method in Teaching and Learning Software Engineering

Author(s): Rozilawati Razali | Dzulaiha Aryanee Putri Zainal

Journal: International Education Studies
ISSN 1913-9020

Volume: 6;
Issue: 6;
Date: 2013;
Original page

The Case Method (CM) has long been used effectively in Social Science education. Its potential use in Applied Science such as Software Engineering (SE) however has yet to be further explored. SE is an engineering discipline that concerns the principles, methods and tools used throughout the software development lifecycle. In CM, subjects are presented to students by means of real cases whereby students themselves either individually or in group discussions work through the problems and issues presented in the cases. The CM approach is deemed necessary for SE education in order to expose students to real scenarios that challenge them to develop the appropriate skills to deal with practical problems. As a largely theoretical subject, SE students could understand more about the practical application of SE concepts and ideas via such active learning activities. This paper presents a survey conducted on two sets of students who were exposed to CM in learning SE. Besides confirming the acceptance of CM among SE students, the surveys aimed to discover the contributing factors and elements that influence the efficacy of the method. The participants consisted of 64 undergraduates that comprised local full-time and executive students. The survey was performed in two semesters through group interviews. Data from the survey were analysed qualitatively using content analysis. The results showed that there are four factors that are important to teaching SE using CM, namely Environment, Case, Instructor, and Student. Each of these factors has certain criteria and characteristics that suggest how CM can be successfully used in teaching and learning SE. These findings can be used by SE educators to more effectively plan the use of CM as one possible teaching method in SE.
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