Course Exam – Software Engineering (COMP 410)

Calling all computer programmers! Athabasca University’s School of Computing and Information Systems is proud of their newly-opened course, Software Engineering (COMP 410), written by Associate Professor Dr. Fuhua (Oscar) Lin. Software Engineering (COMP 410) is designed to give computer science students the tools necessary for programming large-scale software projects, including planning techniques, software reusability, different types of analyses, and software design.

As a fourth-level AU course, Software Engineering (COMP 410) is a three-credit course with a pre-requisite being knowledge of a programming language like C++ or Java. COMP 410 consists of 16 units. The first two units provide an introduction to the world of software engineering with an emphasis on the course focus of large-scale programming projects. Once this background has been set, Software Engineering (COMP 410) then proceeds to take students on a step-by-step learning experience in the production of large computer programs. Students are introduced to planning models for large programs, and then, in Unit 4, explore the concept of teamwork in the large-scale software setting. This includes the organization of a competent team, working in tandem with other team members, and the incorporation of the team’s work into an integrated whole. Over the next two units, students will delve into information on those necessary tools of the computer programmer, including debuggers and associated programs, emulator types, and accurate testing techniques to discover minor programming errors. Unit 8 discusses reusability and portability, which includes code reuse techniques and tips that help reduce the workload associated with future programming projects. The next unit, Unit 9, focuses on both short and long-term planning and estimating for the program, such as length of time to complete and further programming requirements. This unit also emphasizes organization, a key factor in the production of large programming projects. Over the next two units, students explore various types of analyses, including classical and object-oriented; later, students discuss factors in program design, including visual features. The last units of Software Engineering (COMP 410) teach students implementation techniques. In other words, getting their program to work effectively, efficiently and as initially planned. Lastly, students will learn practical techniques for maintaining the program once it is physically available on the market.

Student evaluation in COMP 410 is determined through three assignments and one final exam. The assignments, which are worth 30%, 10% and 20% respectively, reflect the material taught in the course and provide an opportunity to use this information in a practical manner. The final exam, worth 40%, is cumulative in addressing material contained in all of the units.

Course professor Dr. Fuhua (Oscar) Lin has been an Associate Professor at AU’s School of Computing and Information Systems since 2000. Prior to coming to AU, he attained his PhD from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and worked in several teaching and research positions. Currently, at AU, Dr. Lin teaches 11 AU computer science courses, including COMP 410, COMP 489 (Distributed Systems), COMP 495/496 (Computing and Information Systems Projects), and several computer science graduation project courses.

Software Engineering (COMP 410) is currently offered in a group study mode, but Dr. Lin hopes to offer it in a paced e-mode by this fall/winter. This paced mode will be complemented by the text, course website, and various support materials, including website resources.

For more information, including a sample of the material addressed in COMP 410, visit the course website at: