Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Paper about teaching with Umple was very well received at CSEE&T

I presented Umple on two occasions during CSEE&T. The first was in ASEE&T, an academy for professors who would like to learn to teach software engineering. My slides are here (or in pdf).

The second was a paper session in which I presented the following paper:

Lethbridge, T., Mussbacher, G, Forward, A. and Badreddin, O, (2011) “Teaching UML Using Umple: Applying Model-Oriented Programming in the Classroom”, CSEE&T 2011, pp. 421-428. My slides for that paper presentation are here:

Here are some of my observations about teaching with Umple, taken verbatim from the paper:

  • It proved faster than writing on the board to create diagrams, with its textual mode being subjectively at least twice as fast as writing on the board, and the mouse-and-icon diagram entry mode being about 25% faster than writing on the board.
  • The ability to call up diagrams from a list of example files and then edit them was something that could not be accomplished readily in PowerPoint nor on the board.
  • When designing interactively, the ability to rearrange a diagram was extremely helpful, and much faster than erasing part of a diagram drawn on the board.
  • The ability to show several alternative designs for the same problem proved very useful. This ability just requires pasting Umple text or loading pre-defined Umple examples.
  • The ability to take an existing Java program and convert it into a model live in front of students showed them that their programming skills can directly connect to their new modeling skills. This is also something that cannot be done with other UML tools.
  • The ability to generate and run good-quality code instantly helped students see that modeling is not just about pretty pictures. Doing this helped show them in concrete terms what it means to, for example, change a multiplicity or add an event to a state machine.
  • Since UmpleOnline requires only a browser, it can be instantly invoked in any lecture when needed. Furthermore, students can take the same examples and instantly use them on their own laptops, which many now have in the classroom.
    Here are some of the results of a survey of students using Umple, The diagram should speak for itself: Students liked Umple.

    In addition, the paper showed that final exam grades on UML modeling questions improved by 9.4% in the years since I introduced teaching with Umple. The results were highly statistically significant.

    Many attendees at CSEE&T told me they would like to use Umple or a tool like it, and that I seemed to have made a significant advance in helping students understand UML.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment