Software Engineering

UC Santa Cruz – CMPE 276 – Fall 2000
T Th 12-1:45PM

Baskin Engineering 372



Jim Whitehead


BE 123


Office Hours:

Thurs 10-11, or by appointment

Every Week

A. Reading articles, attending lectures, participating in discussions

Software Engineering is a 32-year-old research discipline, in which thousands of research papers have been published. The readings in this course are designed to provide a solid, broad introduction to Software Engineering and its associated literature in the span of 10 weeks. Assigned readings are a combination of overviews/surveys of a specific topic, and “classics”, papers that have had significant and lasting impact.

Class discussion of the readings is important both in engaging the ideas in the papers, and in developing a critical mindset concerning their contents.  Attendance at scheduled lectures, and in-class discussion of the readings are both required.

B. Rating/Reviewing articles

You are required to read and evaluate each of the assigned readings by Monday prior to discussion in class on Tuesday and Thursday. There is no requirement to read or evaluate the supplemental readings; they are provided as a starting point for further investigation. Evaluations are due by noon Monday, in the box outside my office (BE 123). Each paper evaluation should be on a separate sheet of paper, and include:

·         The title, and first author’s name

·         The main point that the article seemed to make (2-3 sentences)

·         Two subjective numerical ratings on a 1-to-6 scale (1 low, 6 high):
a) How important is the material covered in the article?
b) How well-written was the article?

·         One to three paragraphs concerning the content of the article, containing either:
a) A question about the article, such as one that you or someone reading the paper for the first time might have to stop and study, look elsewhere, or reread to find an answer. Questions should be accompanied by an elaboration of the question, and/or a discussion of its relevance.
b) A comment on the article, such as discussion of application, classification, comparison and/or evaluation of method or methods.
c) What you liked, disliked, found interesting or found unclear in the article.

Also, see “How to Read an Engineering Research Paper” by Bill Griswold for additional ideas (

Paper evaluations will be graded according to the following scale: 0: not submitted, 1: marginal, 2: what was expected, 3: outstanding. You must accumulate an average of 1.6 points per evaluation to pass this class REGARDLESS of other evaluation criterion.

Whole Quarter

C. Term Project and Paper

Supplementing the readings, the term project allows in-depth examination of a topic within Software Engineering. You are expected to select one of the projects from the course project list, or you may propose your own project idea. If you wish to propose your own project, you should email a brief outline of the project idea by October 6. Projects can be individual, or in small teams of up to three students. A brief description of your project topic and approach is due Week 3. A list of sources (articles, books, etc.) to be used in the project is due Week 4. A draft of your final project paper is due Week 8. While this draft does not need to be complete, you must submit a paper draft in Week 8. The final paper is due December 1.


Your grade/evaluation is based on the following factors:

·         40% – Paper evaluations and class participation.

·         40% – Term project, of which 25% is based on intermediate deliverables (project description, reading list, paper draft, etc.)

·         20% – Final exam

A minimum score of 50% in EACH of the three categories (project, paper evaluations and class participation, and final exam) is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to pass this class.


Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Linda Werner for her work and experience developing previous versions of CMPE 276, on which this is patterned. I would also like to thank Jonathan Grudin, whose survey courses were an additional influence.