Görel Hedin, Lars Bendix, Boris Magnusson, Lennart Ohlsson:
Tandem Courses – Students coaching students, pdf,
in proceedings of the Pedagogisk inspirationskonferens, Lund, Sweden, June 1, 2006.
Teamwork and project participation are essential skills for professional software engineers. To be able to give large groups of students adequate opportunities to learn such skills at a reasonable teaching cost, we have developed two courses that work in tandem: a team programming course taken by about 100 students, and a coaching course taken by about 20 students.
In this paper, we describe our view of how these courses should be integrated within the engineering curriculum and our experiences of running them for five years. Important aspects of our set up include co-location during development, fixed working hours, and guided reflection exercises for both coaches and developers. The projects are run as role-playing games where teachers acting as customers provide opportunities for negotiation and the making of commitments. Our experience so far is very positive, and we see that students get a good basic understanding of the important concepts in software engineering, rooted in their own practical experience.