pchapin's Software Engineering Projects Syllabus, Spring 2015


Peter C. Chapin. Office: BLP-414 on the Williston campus. Office hours are by appointment. Phone: 802-879-2367 (voice mail active). Email: PChapin@vtc.vsc.edu. I will usually respond to email within 24 hours, not including weekends or holidays. Email is the best way to contact me. I am also on Skype under the ID pchapin, and often on the FreeNode IRC network under the nickname pcc.

Course Description

The official course outline lists high level course objectives and content. A more detailed topic list can be found on the course home page.



The main prerequisite for this class is some background in programming. Officially a grade of C- or better in the introductory Java sequence is sufficient. Good writing skills and some system administration skills would also be helpful.


There is no text that you have to buy for this course. I will be providing printed copies of certain chapters from a soon-to-be-published book about Ada and SPARK.

I have created an email distribution list for the class. I will use this list to distribute announcements and other supplementary materials. Be sure to check your mail regularly (daily) or you might miss something important. If you send a question in email directly to me, I may reply to my distribution list if I think that others would benefit from my answer. If you would rather I did not reply to the list you should say so in your message.

My home page contains various documents of general interest.

Grading Policy

I grade on a point system. Each assignment is worth a certain number of points. At the end of the semester I total all the points you earned and compare that to the total number of possible points. In this course there are four components to your grade.

  1. Homework. 10 pts/each. There will be about seven homework assignments during the semester for a total of about 70 points. You will have approximately one week to do each assignment. Most of the assignments will entail some programming but there may be non-programming questions as well. The lowest homework grade will be dropped.

  2. Labs. 10 pts/each. There will be about five formal labs during the semester for a total of about 50 points. What you need to submit for each lab will vary from lab to lab.

    During the second half of the course you will need to submit weekly progress reports related to your work on the project. Each progress report is worth 5 pts for a total of about 30 points.

  3. Project. About 40 pts. The centerpiece of this class is the project. I will define the project and each of you will work on separate sections of it. You will be required to do one or two presentations about your work (10 pts/each) plus submit various written "artifacts" (reports and/or code). The precise details will be announced as the project becomes more defined.

For homework and labs you can discuss the material with other students and post questions related to the assignments in on-line forums. However, you should still do your own work. See the section on "Copying Policy" below for more information.

I will not formally take attendance, but I will notice people who seem "disengaged" in the class. Although attendance is not specifically part of my grading policy it will, like other intangible items such as "professionalism," play a role in how likely I am to round up borderline grades.

Late Policy

Roughly, late submissions are not accepted. If something comes up that prevents you from handing in an assignment on time, contact me, before the deadline if at all possible, to discuss your issue. As a practical matter I can accept a late submission if I have neither distributed a solution nor graded the assignment. Since either of those things can happen at any time after the due date, you should plan on submitting all materials on time.

Copying Policy

I encourage you to share ideas with your fellow students so I won't be shocked to learn that you've been talking with someone about an assignment. In fact if you worked closely with someone else you should make a note on your submission that mentions the names of your associates.

However, I do ask you to do your own work in your final submissions. If two submissions exhibit what I feel to be "excessive similarity" I will grade the submissions based on merit and then divide the grade by two, assigning half the grade to each submission. If I receive more than two excessively similar submissions I will divide the grade by the number of such submissions and distribute the result accordingly.

Since "excessive similarity" is a bit subjective, I may only give you a warning if the similarity is not too excessive—especially for a first offense. However, I will be much less inclined to be forgiving the second time. If you are concerned about the possibility of submitting something that might be too similar to another student's work, don't hesitate to speak with me first.

If you find material on the Internet or in a book that seems to answer questions I ask in an assignment, you may include such material in your submission provided you properly reference it. If I discover that you have included unreferenced material from such sources, I may not give you any credit for the question(s) answered by such material. You do not need to provide a reference to our text book or to materials I specifically provide in class.

Other Matters

Students with disabilities may request accommodation as provided within federal law. All such requests should be made by first contacting Robin Goodall, Learning Specialist, in the Center for Academic Success on the Randolph campus. She can be reached by phone at (802) 728-1278 or by email at rgoodall@vtc.edu.

Last Revised: 2015-03-10
© Copyright 2015 by Peter C. Chapin <PChapin@vtc.vsc.edu>