Online Help Site for Software Engineering to Launch




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It’s billed as the future Amazon.com for software engineering educators.

A first-of-its-kind Web site under development by Rochester Institute of Technology and five other universities will serve as a clearinghouse for software engineering instructional support material.

RIT is the lead university in the $500,000 National Science Foundation-funded initiative, known as SWENET—The Network Community for Software Engineering Education. It will produce support material and make it available at no charge on the Web site, www.swenet.org. Then in true Amazon.com-style, users will be able to comment on and rate the material.

Michael Lutz, software engineering department head at RIT, is collaborating with faculty from Georgia Tech, Texas Tech University, Drexel University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering on the project, focusing on four areas in undergraduate software engineering curricula development: design, quality, requirements and process. Co-op and graduate students from RIT, Georgia Tech and Texas Tech will assist.

The Web site will be an online repository for software engineering support material used by academia and industry for course development, undergraduate program development and training related to software engineering, computer engineering and computer science. Resources available will include lectures, PowerPoint presentations and other tested material. In "cafeteria" style, users will choose only the material of interest to them and modify it to meet their individual needs.

"SWENET will be a rich mine of useful information and tools to help accelerate the adoption of software engineering in academia," Lutz says. "Our goal is to help the emergence of the discipline in academic programs."

The initiative was formally launched at the Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training, Feb. 19–21, in Charlotte, N.C. Currently in the preliminary stages of development, the Web site will likely be hosted by RIT.

RIT’s undergraduate software engineering program, the first in the nation, is a collaboration of the university’s College of Applied Science and Technology and Kate Gleason College of Engineering.