Engagement contexts of software engineering education projects

E. Moira Watson*, David Cutting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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The inclusion of a capstone project has become a core component of many software engineering and computing related courses. There is general agreement that a substantial final year project provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate breadth and depth of acquired knowledge alongside industry-oriented skills and independent working. Traditionally, capstone projects are academic-proposed individual projects, in which students work from a project outline with one or more academic supervisors. Although useful to demonstrate the application of knowledge, such projects lack key activities that have been cited as beneficial to student experience and career-readiness, specifically working with others in a team and with external clients. In our study we provided a range of projects for students in a final year, compulsory capstone Software Engineering project module which forms a major requirement of the overall degree. The students were required to select a project which could be individual or team-based and where the origin of the project could be academic-proposed, student-proposed, community-based or industry-supported. Students then completed these projects with a mixture of academic supervision and, where appropriate, input from the community group or industrial partner who had proposed it. After completion, a mixed-method approach was used to evaluate student experience and satisfaction. The initial findings indicate that students who chose a team-based project and specifically those who took projects proposed for a real-world user (community or industry) were more satisfied with their experience and agreed to a greater extent that they had developed new skills. Within this group, those who chose the community projects expressed the highest levels of satisfaction, feeling rewarded that their contribution was to a project for social good. These initial findings validate the beneficial approach of involving external partners such as community groups in team-based capstone projects.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2022 31st Annual Conference of the European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering (EAEEIE)
EditorsFernano Lopes, Inácio Fonseca
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-8442-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-8443-5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2022

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference of the European Association for Education in Electrical and Information Engineering (EAEEIE)
ISSN (Print)2376-4198
ISSN (Electronic)2472-7687


  • Software engineering
  • project-based learning
  • collaborative learning
  • capstone course
  • community engagement
  • software engineering education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Software


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