Our 36 USC Center for
Software Engineering industry and government Affiliates help
keep us in touch with technology, applications, and economic
trends through participation in our annual workshops and
collaborative projects. These cover such areas as value-based
spiral model extensions, COCOMO® cost-schedule-quality estimation
model extensions, UML-xADL architecture specification extensions,
COTS-based system development, and agile methods. Our Affiliates
include IBM/Rational, Microsoft, Sun, HP, Motorola, Daimler
Chrysler, the major aerospace companies, DARPA, DoD, FAA,
NASA, and a number of small companies and nonprofits.
Affiliates’ financial support also helps us experiment with
new educational approaches. Our mainstream software engineering
course has 5-student teams go from inception through transition
in 24 weeks, developing real-client e-service applications
for campus (and some off-campus) organizations. They use
a mix of industrial-grade tools (Rational Rose/Soda/Clear
Case, MS Project, numerous Java and other development tools)
and our USC-developed tools (USC COCOMO® II, Easy Win Win)
and methods discussed above. Just keeping the applications
competitive helps us keep up with emerging technologies:
between 1996 and 2002, our percentage of COTS-based applications
increased from 28% to 61%.
students also get course credit for analyzing their summer
internships with industry. The analysis includes an assessment
of the relative strengths and weakness of the processes, methods,
and tools they use in industry and the ones we teach them at
USC. This also helps us keep the curriculum current.
the pace of IT change continues to accelerate, we see our biggest
challenge not in helping students to learn new technologies,
but in helping them to learn how to learn. In our Software
Management and Economics course, we have two assignments in
which the students role-play as the CTO of a medium-size software
company in preparing an assessment for the company’s President
of the advantages and difficulties of the company’s adopting
a new technology such as agile methods, COTS-based solutions,
or product lines. Their grading criteria include not only the
incisiveness of the analysis, but the number and diversity
of referenced sources they have found that support the analysis.
This has been a strong learning-how-to-learn experience for
both the students and the faculty.