A Platform for Teaching Applied Distributed Software Development: The Ongoing Journey of the Helsinki Software Factory

Fabian Fagerholm, Nilay Oza, Jürgen Münch

Teaching distributed software development (DSD) in project courses where student teams are geographically distributed promises several benefits. One main benefit is that in contrast to traditional classroom courses, students can experience the effects of distribution and the mechanisms for coping with distribution by themselves, therefore understanding their relevance for software development. They can thus learn to take more care of distribution challenges and risks when starting to develop software in industry. However, providing a sustainable environment for such project courses is difficult. A development environment is needed that can connect to different distributed teams and an ongoing routine to conduct such courses needs to be established. This article sketches a picture of the Software Factory, a platform that supports teaching distributed student projects and that has now been operational for more than three years. We describe the basic steps of conducting Software Factory projects, and portray experiences from past factory projects. In addition, we provide a short overview of related approaches and future activities.

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