FAST learning: A new didactic method in software engineering

FAST learning: A new didactic method in software engineering A new didactic method is proposed and described, called FAST, which is an acronym from Follow Accomplishments of Senior Teams, to attract to the discipline students in low level courses and reduce attrition rates. In essence, the method relies on bringing software engineering student teams from senior project courses, who have accomplished some significant results in their classes, to demonstrate and showcase their projects in introductory courses in software engineering and in other STEM disciplines. Students in lower level courses, with assistance of instructor, then analyze the projects specifications, designs, and implementations, and find out about the principles and specific details of softwaredevelopment on a real case study, which is available at hand. Then, depending on each project’s scope, an instructor in a lower level course may choose one of the techniques, such as a demo, exercise, assignment, or even experiment, to enforce learning and motivate the students to increase their chances of staying in the degree program or even switching to the software engineering program from other majors. Typical software projects involved in the first edition of FAST learning were on robotics, wireless sensor networks, microcontrollers, data acquisition and control, and others. These activities definitely engaged students in lower level courses and caused significant excitement about prospects of learning in higher level courses and pursuing careers in software engineering.