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  • 2015BullPhD

    Final published version, 3.39 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Studios in software engineering education

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date1/01/2016
Number of pages239
Awarding Institution
Award date1/01/2016
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Computing has its roots in mathematics, where lectures are the dominant mode of education. Software engineering (SE) education, born from computer science, is also traditionally taught using lectures, but has grown beyond its mathematical roots; as the name implies, it is an engineering discipline. It is arguably necessary for SE to rethink its approach to education.

Studio education is one alternative being explored. Studios originated from architecture and design, and are complex spaces used by collocated students to collaboratively and individually work on projects; they emphasise a physical “home” for students, problem-based and peer-based learning, and mentoring by academic staff rather than formal lectures. There are inherent similarities between SE and the original studio disciplines: e.g. we often use the architecture of buildings as metaphors when designing and describing software. This suggests that studios in SE should be further explored, despite its apparent lack of uptake across institutions worldwide.

This thesis aims to provide useful information for anyone considering utilizing a studio-based approach. Initially, with no widely accepted definition for studio education available, a series of interviews with design/architecture studio educators was conducted, culminating in an understanding in the form of the ‘studio framework’. This is followed by further interviews, with SE studio educators, to determine their perspective of studio education, and exploring the SE specific elements to studio education. Finally, experiences and observations are shared of Lancaster University’s recent SE studio, comparing it to the studio framework.