The typical software engineering course consists of lectures in which concepts and theories are conveyed, along with a small "toy" software engineering project which attempts to give students the opportunity to put this knowledge into practice. Although both of these components are essential, neither one provides students with adequate practical knowledge regarding the process of software engineering. Namely, lectures allow only passive learning and projects are so constrained by the time and scope requirements of the academic environment that they cannot be large enough to exhibit many of the phenomena occurring in real-world software engineering processes. To address this problem, we have developed Problems and Programmers, an educational card game that simulates the software engineering process and is designed to teach those process issues that are not sufficiently high-lighted by lectures and projects. We describe how the game is designed, the mechanics of its game play, and the results of an experiment we conducted involving students playing the game. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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