ICS 314 is a fast-paced immersion into significant software engineering concepts and technologies. It incorporates the following themes:
Software engineering concepts. Classical concepts include requirements, design, implementation, testing, configuration management, development environments, quality assurance, deployment, and project management.
Software engineering technologies. You will explore with a variety of technologies including: the IntelliJ Idea integrated development environment, the git configuration management system, the GitHub project hosting, the Semantic UI user interface framework, and the Meteor web application framework.
Design. You will gain experience with a variety of design domains, including user interface design, application design, data design, security design, and requirements design.
Quality Assurance. The course presents quality assurance concepts from coding standards to testing to automated tools such as ESLint to software review.
Professional development. The course will help you establish and/or improve your “professional online persona”. This includes: (a) a professional portfolio web site like those at ICS Portfolios; (b) a set of publicly available software projects in which you have participated; (c) a set of well-written technical essays; and (d) participation in professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and TechHui.
Technical writing/WI Focus. The course will help you develop effective strategies for writing, to use and value writing as a tools for learning, and to learn to write in an appropriate manner for software engineering. You will do a substantial amount of writing for this course, well over 16 pages or 4,000 words, and you must adequately complete all writing assignments in order to pass the course with a grade of D or better. For these reasons, ICS 314 is designated as a writing intensive course.
Open source software engineering. You will learn some of the fundamental issues involved in successfully developing open source software, as well as the many professional benefits of developing open source software as a student.
Athletic software engineering. ICS 314 implements an educational technique called athletic software engineering, which relies heavily on WODs (Workouts of the Day) to help you acquire mastery of the concepts in this course.
The course grounds these thematic elements by covering the skills necessary to quickly build two-tier web applications with a modern look-and-feel. Many computer science and computer engineering projects benefit from a web-based user interface, and this class will help you to create a nice one regardless of your “design” background.
This course is intended for undergraduates in computer science or computer engineering who have a working knowledge of Java or C++ and who want to invest effort into developing their software engineering skill set.
A significant component of the course is a student-selected final project to showcase the techniques learned during the course.
ICS 314 is structured as a sequential series of modules, most taking approximately a week to complete. Each module has the following structure:
While ICS software engineering requires discipline and effort, the results appear to be worth the investment. Here are some recent course evaluation comments:
The course not only provides the tools and skills needed for Computer Science students to produce content but also introduces us to the social aspect we as programmers will have to understand in order to work in groups later in life. (Spring, 2019)
Overall, the course takes a different direction than the typical class would. The course is similar to conditioning yourself for a sport. It takes a lot of time and effort from the student initially, but as time goes on, the results show. At the start of the course, the time pressure of the assignments made me tense and clumsy, but the practices and material provided helped steel me into a LEAN, MEAN, FIERCE COMPUTER ATHLETE, WHO DOESN’T FLINCH AT THE SIGHT OF A WOD. The project period is also a time of revelation. (Spring, 2018)
The course teaching style and format were innovative and effective at maintaining a rigorous yet intriguing pace of learning. Dr. Johnson’s Athletic Software Engineering pedagogy – specifically the concept of WODs – was tremendously stimulating and efficient at fostering class learning. (Fall, 2017)
I enjoyed this course very much. Though it may have caused me some stress along the way, there was never a moment when the amount of effort I put in didn’t result in a satisfying reward. It teaches you much more beyond coding and shapes you as a future computer scientist. I really feel as if it has been a significant stepping stone in the journey towards my career, whatever that may turn out to be. (Fall, 2016)
On the other hand, some students find the workload to be stressful, as shown by this comment:
A very spirited instructor, sometimes too spirited. The constant requirements for the class both with studying materials and programming can be overwhelming to a student of typical course & out of school load (other classes and work/family obligations). (Fall, 2009)
For additional student perspectives on Philip Johnson’s teaching style, please see his unedited course evaluations since 2007, with hundreds of comments (both positive and negative).