An Exploration of Knowledge and Skills Transfer from a Formal Software Engineering Curriculum to a Capstone Practicum Project

Ray Bareiss, Carnegie Mellon University
Ed Katz, Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract or Description

Students at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley complete a team-based practicum project for an industrial sponsor as the capstone of their master’s education in software engineering. Over time, the faculty member who typically serves as advisor for such projects has been disturbed by the failure of several student teams to transfer some relevant knowledge and skills from the formal curriculum to the relatively unstructured practicum project environment. We conducted a survey of all 2010 software engineering students to ascertain the most significant selfreported shortcomings. This paper presents the survey data and then discusses the results in terms of a theory of transfer; as part of this discussion recent and possible future changes to instruction are identified.