Learning of Software Project Development: Towards a Hybrid Approach

Y T Yu, M Y Choy, E Y K Chan and Y T Lo
City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

Project work is an integral component of software development courses. The learning of software project development demands not only adequate supervision by the instructor, but also rich interactions among students. In traditional classroom learning, however, the number of contact hours between the instructor and students is very limited, which severely restricts the amount of guidance students receive in a course. In particular, the best practices in software development -- such as design modelling, peer review, quality assurance and project management -- all require ample practice that is hardly feasible in the conventional classroom learning setting. With the use of e-learning systems, a large part of the interactions between the instructor and students can now be done online.

In this paper, we propose a hybrid learning design for software development courses, which takes advantage of both the rich context available in classroom learning and the benefits of communication by electronic means. To facilitate the implementation of hybrid learning, a Web-based course tool has been built to supplement an existing e-learning platform to provide for the specific needs in learning software project development. The authors advocate the use of hybrid learning in such courses, describe the functionalities, design, testing and validation of the custom-built tool, and present the course design that realizes hybrid learning in software project work.