CS 325 - Software Engineering Concepts

Spring 2001

The new team of programmers loved Kiva. Actually they bristled at the title "programmer" and would point out that they were in fact "software engineers." I don't mention that as a point of ridicule, but rather to illustrate their perspective. They dealt in high-level concepts on prototypes that remained prototypical right up until the VC funding ran out.

--- A web technologist, quoted in
Scalability, Three-Tiered Architectures, and Application Servers

Table of Contents

Course Description

This an introductory course in software engineering. Check the course catalog entry for general information about CS 325.

The prerequisite for this course is Computer Algorithms I, CS 305. More generally, you should be familiar with the three major programming phases - design, code, and test - and have enough programming experience to appreciate the difficulties of building acceptable software systems.

The course is divided into five sections, with each section covering a part of the software engineering processes. Consult the syllabus for details.

The class meets in Howard Hall 522 Mondays and Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. except on Monday, 5 March, and Wednesday, 7 March, when where will be no class due to Spring Break.


Software engineering is a large and squishy subject, and it's unrealistic to expect this class to be anything more than an introduction to the principle concepts and ideas. The main objective of this course is to teach you enough about software engineering so that you'll be able to hold you own in a general conversation about software engineering, such as might be had during a job interview (this is also known as becoming buzzword compliant).


R. Clayton, Howard B-13, rclayton@monmouth.edu, 732 263 5522. Office hours are Monday and Wednesday 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in my office. I'm also usually happy to talk to you any time you can catch me; setting up an appointment is recommended, check my schedule for details.


The final grade comes from test scores and group project grades.

There will be five tests, each one being given at the end of a section; see the syllabus for the schedule. Tests will be given in class, and are closed book with no notes; calculators and computers will not be necessary. The tests are cumulative, covering everything taught up to and including class before the test; however, it's a good bet that each test will concentrate on the material taught in the section prior to the test. There is no midterm or final. Test answers will be made available off the syllabus about an hour after the test.

The group project runs through the five major phases of a software engineering project; see the project description for more details.

The final grade is a straight, unweighted average of test scores and project grades; that is, there are ten grades total - five from tests and five from projects - and each grade constitutes one-tenth of your final grade.

The mid-term grade is a straight, unweighted average of however many grades have accumulated by the time the mid-term grades are due (it should be six grades total).

The usual grade ranges are in effect:

95 <=A
90 <=A-< 95
86.6<=B+< 90
83.3<=B < 86.6
80 <=B-< 83.3
76.6<=C+< 80
73.3<=C < 76.6
70 <=C-< 73.3
60 <=D < 70
F < 60
All grades are kept with one digit of precision to the right of the decimal point and 0.05 rounded up. No grades are adjusted to a curve; that means that 89.9 is always a B+, not an A-.



The textbook is An Integrated Approach to Software Engineering, second edition, by P. Jalote, Springer, 1997.


You should feel free to send me e-mail. Unless I warn you beforehand, I'll usually respond within a couple of hours during the working week; if I don't respond within a day, resend the message.

Mail relevant to the class will be stored in a hyper-mail archive. If your message is of general interest to the class, I'll store it, suitably stripped of identification and along with my answer, in the archive.

Class Home Page

If you're reading this on paper, you can find the class home page at http://www.monmouth.edu/rclayton/web-pages/s01-325/index.html. I'll make the class notes, assignments, and tests available off the syllabus; you should get in the habit of checking the home page and syllabus regularly.



People who need assistance or accommodations above and beyond what is usually provided in class should contact the University's ADA/504 coordinator to get those needs met. See me or the Disability Services page for more details.


I have no class attendance policy; you may attend class or not as you see fit. However, I hold you responsible for knowing everything that goes on in class; "I wasn't in class for that." is not an acceptable excuse for a wrong answer, or for giving no answer at all.

My attendance policy applies only to lecture attendance; it does not apply to other kinds of attendance which may be required for the course. Repeated failures to meet the attendance expectations set for tests, meetings, projects, labs or other forms of course work will have a bad influence on your grade.

Monmouth University does have a class attendance policy, which you can find in the Academic Information chapter of the Student Handbook. To the extent that I need to keep the record straight, I will take attendance. Attendance lists, however, are entirely for the University's benefit; I will make no use of them in grading.


Cheating's not nice; don't do it. Anyone caught cheating fails the course. The chapters on Academic Information and the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook describe academic honesty and how it can be violated.

Complaining about Grades

I recognize and encourage a student's sacred right to complain about their grade. There are, however, a few rules under which such complaining should take place, and those students who don't follow the rules will be less successful in their complaints than those students who do follow the rules.

First, the only complaint that matters is that something got marked wrong when it was actually right. When you come to complain, be prepared to present, in explicit detail, what it is you did and why you think it's right.

Second, complaints about a particular test or assignment are only valid until the next test or assignment is due; after that point the book is permanently closed on all previous test or assignment grades.

Late Assignments

Assignments must be turned in by their due date; assignments turned in after their due date are late. You should contact me as soon as possible if you need to negotiate a due-date extension. The longer you wait to negotiate, the less likely it is you'll be successful; in particular, you have almost no chance of getting an extension if you try for one the day before the due date, and you have no chance of getting an extention on the due date.

A late assignment is penalized five points a day for each day it's late. I use a 24-hour clock running from midnight to midnight to measure days; note this means that an assignment handed in the day after it's due is penalized ten points: five for the day it was due and five for the next day.

Missing Tests

There may occasionally be a conflict between taking a test and doing something else, particularly among those working full time. If you're going to be out of town, or on jury duty, or whatever, on a test day, let me know beforehand and we'll discuss a make-up test.

A make-up test must be scheduled to be taken by the date of the test following the missed test (or the final exam if you miss the last test). If a missed test is not made up by the time of the next test, you get a zero for the missed test.

There will be only one make up given per missed test. If more than one person misses the same test, those people will have to coordinate among themselves to pick a mutually agreeable date for the make up.

Writing Intensive Requirements

This three-credit course is designated as being writing intensive. Each of the five 2.5 week sections (that is, all sections in the course but the first introductory section) will involve writing intensive activity; see the syllabus for details.

Each of the writing-intensive sections produces a document subject to a four-page limit, leading to a total page count of at least 20 pages; see the project description for more details.

Each of the five documents produced is subject to two rounds of revision, the first when the document is in draft form and the second when the document has undergone peer review; see the project description for more details.

The writing quality displayed in a document contributes 40% to the document's total grade; see the project description for more details.

Links to Further Information

A incestuous tangle of software-engineering links I've collected while developing material for this class.

This page last modified on 31 January 2001.