CSIS 321 Software Engineering

Course Description

An introduction to the formal processes and industry-standard tools used in producing quality software. The entire life cycle of software development is presented and utilized. Students work in teams to specify, design, implement, test, release, and maintain a non-trivial software project using a modern software development methodology.


Brian R. Snider
Office hours: Wood-Mar 223 (see schedule)





This course will introduce you to the theories and practices of software engineering. This course is the near end-product of a computer science degree. The vast majority of the CSIS degree is obtaining knowledge and tools which you apply in some capacity to solve problems. Software engineering is the application of that knowledge and those tools.

A formal definition: software engineering (SWE) is the systematic development, operation, maintenance, and retirement of software. This course is designed to give you the "big overview" of SWE. Each topic within this course could easily be (and is at some large universities) the topic of an entire semester-long course.

Course Organization

Attendance and participation are critical in this course. This course requires group work on software project; group membership is therefore mandatory. Groups will be formed and assigned by the instructor during the second half of the course. Once the projects start, groups will be set for the remainder of the course. You will have the opportunity to vote for your preferred project.

Groups will use a modern software process methodology to design and implement a non-trivial software project. This will include numerous weekly deliverables; participation from each individual group member will be assessed. Moreover, the overall success of the project will be assessed for the group as a whole.

The course will include regular homework and/or programming assignments. There will be no credit given for late assignments (without an excused absence)—turn in as much as you can. Unless otherwise specified, no handwritten work will be accepted.

Reading should be completed before the lecture covering the material per the provided schedule. Not all reading material will be covered in the lectures, but you will be responsible for the material on homework and exams. Quizzes over the assigned reading may be given at any time.

Collaboration and Academic Integrity

See the GFU CS/IS/Cyber policies for collaboration and discussion of collaboration and academic integrity. Most students would be surprised at how easy it is to detect collaboration or other academic integrity violations such as plagiarism in programming—please do not test us! Remember: you always have willing and legal collaborators in the faculty. We encourage you to ask questions in class, ask for help in the CS lab, use the class mailing list, and visit office hours for assistance.

Unless otherwise specified (e.g., for a group assignment or project), you are expected to do your own work. This also applies to the use of online resources (e.g., StackOverflow, ChatGPT). Put simply: if you are representing someone else's work as your own, you are being dishonest. Any suspected incidents of academic integrity violations will be investigated and reported to the Academic Affairs Office as they arise.

Almost all of life is filled with collaboration (i.e., people working together). Yet in our academic system, we artificially limit collaboration. These limits are designed to force you to learn fundamental principles and build specific skills. It is very artificial, and you'll find that collaboration is a valuable skill in the working world. While some of you may be tempted to collaborate too much, others will collaborate too little. When appropriate, it's a good idea to make use of others—the purpose here is to learn. Be sure to make the most of this opportunity but do it earnestly and with integrity.

University Resources

Accessibility and Disability

If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities and require accommodations, please contact Disability & Accessibility Services (DAS) as early as possible so that your learning needs can be appropriately met. For more information, go to georgefox.edu/das or contact das@georgefox.edu).

My desire as a professor is for this course to be welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by everyone, including students who are English-language learners, have a variety of learning styles, have disabilities, or are new to online learning systems. Be sure to let me know immediately if you encounter a required element or resource in the course that is not accessible to you. Also, let me know of changes I can make to the course so that it is more welcoming to, accessible to, or usable by students who take this course in the future.

Academic Resource Center

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) on the Newberg campus provides all undergraduate students with free writing consultation, academic coaching, and learning strategy review (e.g., techniques to improve reading, note-taking, study, time management). The ARC offers in-person appointments; if necessary, Zoom appointments can be arranged by request. The ARC, located on the first floor of the Murdock Library, is open from 1:00–10:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 12:00–4:00 p.m. on Friday. To schedule an appointment, go to the online schedule at traccloud.georgefox.edu, call 503-554-2327, email the_arc@georgefox.edu, or stop by the ARC. Visit arc.georgefox.edu for information about ARC Consultants' areas of study, instructions for scheduling an appointment, learning tips, and a list of other tutoring options on campus.

Student Support Network

George Fox University uses a robust referral and support system, Fox360, to learn about students who are experiencing various student success concerns. Students who are referred by a professor, other employee, or fellow student will be contacted by a member of our Student Support Network to explore the student's situation, develop a plan, and connect with relevant campus resources. GFU community members who have a concern about a student's well-being can submit an aleart by going to fox360.georgefox.edu. Our goal is to provide 360° care for students as they navigate their college experience. For more information see ssn.georgefox.edu or contact Rick Muthiah, Director of Learning Support Services.

Health and Safety Considerations

Please review the entirety of the university's official COVID-19 web page for the most up-to-date community guidance.


Grading Scale

The final course grade will be based on:

Graded course activities will be posted to Canvas. Take care to read the specifications carefully and proceed as directed. Failure to pay attention to detail will often result in few to zero points being awarded on a given activity.

Grades will be updated as often as possible; you are encouraged to use the "What-If" functionality to calculate your total grade by entering hypothetical scores for various items.

Note that some graded activities in this course will be submitted via GitLab.

Tentative Schedule

Week 1

Introduction to Software Engineering

Week 2

Small-Scale Programs and Projects

Reading: Ch. 1

Week 3

Large-Scale Systems

Reading: Ch. 2

Week 4

Outcomes, Ethics, and Principles

Reading: Ch. 3

Week 5

Software Process Models

Reading: Ch. 4

Week 6

Modern Process Methodologies

Reading: Ch. 5

Week 7–8


Reading: Ch. 6


Midterm exam

Reading: Ch. 1–6

Week 9

Design: Architecture and Methodology

Reading: Ch. 7

Week 10

Design: Characteristics and Metrics

Reading: Ch. 8

Week 11


Reading: Ch. 9

Week 12

Testing and Quality Assurance

Reading: Ch. 10

Week 13

Configuration Management, Integration, and Builds

Reading: Ch. 11


Thanksgiving break—no classes

Week 14

Support & Maintenance

Reading: Ch. 12

Week 15

Software Project Management; Security

Reading: Ch. 13–14

Week 16

Final exam

Reading: Ch. 7–14

This page was last modified on 2024-01-06 at 16:32:47.

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