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The reflective practice in a software studio

Nowadays, the technology permeates nearly every aspect of our lives then it is usual to expect that the number, size, complexity, and application domains of developed software will continue to grow, as well as the problems with cost, timelines and quality of software products development. This scenario demands even more skilled software developers that blend technical and personal skills. Corporations are complaining about the lack of professional awareness and low levels of communication and teamwork skills in engineering undergraduates. For these reasons, software engineering educators have been discussing what kind of education, what methods or approaches are appropriate to address these demands and issues related to professional practice. Over the last two decades, educators have adopted new techniques, tools and approaches for practical learning, among them the studio-based learning using reflective practice, which has been used by some universities around the world, especially in architecture courses. Although very good results in these contexts have been reported there are few studies focusing on the use of such approach in the software development field. The objective of this study is to understand the reflective practice contribution to the practical learning of mobile application development in a particular software development studio program. Data were collected using ethnographic method through participant observation and from students ́ written self-reflections, which were analyzed using Cycle Coding Method supported by Atlas.ti tool. As a result, it was possible to observe that the reflective practice promotes the process of emerging new ideas, helps to build a culture that is supportive of critique and contributes to practice and development of skills, as collaboration, verbal or written communication, commitment, interpersonal, adaptability, flexibility and teamwork. In addition, problem solving, decision-making, planning, project management, time management, scope management, managing of outsource development and new technical skills. The studio approach emphasizes the practical learning, supports the development of skills required for software engineering practice, and helps in developing new technical skills. Finally, studio seems to be an authentic environment of relationship between academic disciplines and real-world experiences, where students can practice and learn by practicing, thereby, it better prepares students for the real world.

Dissertation submitted for the Master ́s Degree in Informatics at the Graduate Program in Informatics of Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (PUCPR), Brazil.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sheila Reinehr
Co-supervisor: Dr Frederick Van Amstel

Categories: Student work.

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