Guidance on Running Undergraduate Software Projects

As regular readers know, I supervise senior undergraduate software engineering projects on a semi-regular basis at the University of Toronto. I keep thinking that someone must have written something for students (and supervisors) explaining how to do this, but every time I’ve gone looking, I’ve come away dissatisfied. The four nearest misses to date are:

  • Ludi's Student Survival Guide to Managing Group Projects: concise, and useful, but very brief.
  • Dawson's Essence of Computing Projects and Ricketts' Managing Your Software Project: out of print, somewhat dated, and very dry.
  • Fincher et al's Computer Science Project Work: a stamp-collecting compare-and-contrast look at different kinds of project courses.

One criticism of all of them is that they are virtually tool-free: in my experience, students want to know how to do things at least as much as what to do. An entry-level cross between Doar’s Practical Development Environments, and Fogel’s Producing Open Source Software would fit the bill nicely: if anyone knows of such a beast (either in print or on line), I’d welcome a pointer.

Update: Dawson has a new book out, but I haven’t seen a copy yet.

Christian W. Dawson: The Essence of Computing Projects: A Student’s Guide. Pearson Education, 2000, 013021972X, 176 pages.

Sally Fincher, Marian Petre, and Martyn Clark (eds.): Computer Science Project Work: Principles and Paradigms. Springer, 2001, 185233357X, 267 pages.

Stephanie Ludi: Student Survival Guide to Managing Group Projects 2.0., 1998 (viewed December 2005).

Ian W. Ricketts: Managing Your Software Project: A Student’s Guide. Springer, 1998, 3540760466, 103 pages.

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