A Prophylactic Approach to Teaching UML in Undergraduate Computer Science Courses

By Rochelle Elva and David Workman.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For years, medicine has employed prophylaxis to keep us healthy, borrowing from the old adage that ‘an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure’. The approach to teaching UML presented in this paper uses the same concept, along with principles of Piaget’s cognitive theory of learning. It is our hypothesis that if the misconceptions that lie at the source of UML diagramming errors are presented along with correct thought processes,when UML concepts are first introduced, then students will develop correct mental schemata from the onset; thus removing/reducing the need for corrective steps later. This will be achieved by first identifying common errors made by students and then defining active learning and teaching strategies, to prevent these errors. The expected result of this approach is more accurate and effective use of UML by students. The hypothesis was tested by comparing the assessment results of students exposed to the proposed approach to teaching UML, with results obtained from a similar group of students not taught using the approach.

Keywords: Learning UML, Software Engineering Education, Improving Teaching/Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp.47-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.916MB).

Rochelle Elva

PhD student, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA

Dr. David Workman

Associate Professor and Undergraduate coordinator, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA


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