A Prophylactic Approach to Teaching UML in Undergraduate Computer Science Courses

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For years medicine has employed prophylaxis to keep us healthy, borrowing from the old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure’. The approach presented in this paper uses the same concept along with principles of Piaget’s cognitive theory of learning. It is our hypothesis that presenting the misconceptions that lie at the source of errors along with correct thought processes when UML concepts are first introduced, will foster the development of correct UML mental schemata from the onset, thus removing/reducing the need for corrective steps later. This will be achieved by first identifying a list of common errors made by students and then defining teaching strategies (involving active learning), to prevent these errors. The expected result of this approach is the production of more accurate and effective use of UML in technical documentation. This theory is tested by comparing the examination results of students exposed to this approach with results of the previous 5 classes of students. The method will also be evaluated using students qualitative feedback.


Keywords: Learning UML, Software Engineering Education, Improving Teaching/Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Prophylactic Approach to Teaching UML in Undergraduate Computer Science Courses, A


Rochelle Elva

PhD student, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA


Dr. David Workman

Associate Professor and Undergraduate coordinator, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida
Orlando, Florida, USA


Ref: L08P0292