S2-IC1-3 - Towards an Evaluation Process around Active Learning based Methods

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Camelia Serban1 , Andreea Vescan1
1 Babes-Bolyai University

This Research to Practice Full Paper proposes a novel incremental approach in teaching a Software Engineering related course, underpinned by active-learning methods.
Teaching a Software Engineering related course for undergraduate students is a challenging task due to extremely frequent changes that appeared in programming paradigms and in software process development methodologies.
In this ever-changing domain, which presents us with opportunities and challenges every single day, it might be difficult and almost impossible for teachers to predict what are those knowledge that will be of use to students, on the long term, maybe even for five years from now.
This rapid growth in the software development evolution has led to a gap between how teachers do knowledge transfer to students and how students acquire these knowledge. To bridge this gap there is a need to change how we teach these subjects.
Thus, the new theory of education suggests that learner should be in the center of the learning process and the instructors playing an advising and facilitating role. A shift in education theory to a more student-centered approach using active learning is recommended because this approach has its own role to make the students creative and competent in their study. In this respect, active learning’s main drive is to put the responsibility of learning at the hands of the learners themselves and to delegate the role of facilitator to the teacher.
In this paper we provide novel approaches in teaching an undergraduate Software Engineering related course at the Babe\c s-Bolyai University. Its contribution is threefold: firstly, we introduce a new learning process design which selects active learning methods intertwining in teaching this course; secondly, we aim to study the impact of applying active learning methods on students' grades over the three academic years. Thirdly, we investigate students perceptions, their feedback and learning experiences on the use of applying active learning methods. Also, the paper reviews challenges and constraints that we faced while trying to teach this course.
The analysis results show the effectiveness of our approach. Also, our students have expressed a high level of satisfaction, and in a survey, they indicated that the skills they learned in the course are highly applicable to their careers, facilitating their interviews for the engagement within IT companies.