Model the software engineering process by having students design games or other projects for an audience. This helps students gain valuable, hands-on experience and make connections to real world applications.

  • Work with community partners (like other classes at your school) so that students can develop a taste for what it’s like to work as a software engineer.
    • Building a game can be a very long and involved process, which makes this the type of activity that will span over weeks or months.
      • You can use this as a vehicle for teaching relevant course content over the course of this activity.
    • Steps for this Activity:
      • Have students interview the audience/customer to understand their needs.
      • Next, students design and implement the game based upon the target user’s need.
      • Then students do user testing with the target audience to see if they’re able to use the game and have fun!
      • Optional: Give students a chance to improve and make tweaks to their game in response to the user testing.
  • Even if students don’t interview their intended audience, remind students that their programs could be used by people from different backgrounds, with different needs and experiences.
    • Having a diverse team can help avoid oversights made when too many assumptions are made about one’s audience.
      • For example, early car air bags were designed by a team of mostly male engineers who designed for and tested on only male bodies. Because of the oversight of women’s and children’s bodies in the design, many women and children died preventable deaths.

More about this tip

External Source

Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, from Introduction: Women out of the Loop

Interview with Glenda Guerrero