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DEPTHS (Design Patterns Teaching Help System)

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DEPTHS is an integrated environment for learning software design patterns (DPs). It integrates an existing Learning Management System (LMS), a software modeling tool, diverse collaboration tools and relevant online repositories of software DPs. LMS enables students to learn at the pace and in a place that best suits them providing them at the same time with a variety of learning activities and resources. The domain specific tool enables students to experience patterns-based software development in the context of real-world problems. Online repositories of software DPs provide students with plenty of important resources on DPs containing both valuable examples of DPs and instructions how they should be used. Collaboration tools support different kinds of collaborative activities, such as discussions, collaborative tagging, and commenting. To enable the integration of these different learning systems and tools in a comprehensive learning environment, we have used the Semantic Web technologies.

The underlying philosophy of DEPTHS is based on the fact that the major concern of today’s software engineering education is to provide students with the skills necessary to integrate theory and practice; to have them recognize the importance of modeling and appreciate the value of a good design; and to provide them with the ability to acquire specific domain knowledge beyond the computing discipline, in order to support software development in specific domains. Software engineering students should learn how to solve different kinds of software problems both on their own and as members of a development team. This indicates the need for the social constructivist approach in software engineering education. In particular, an active learning paradigm is needed that recognizes that the student activity is critical to the learning process. The basic philosophy of each active learning paradigm is to foster a deep understanding of the subject matter by engaging students in learning activities, not letting them be passive recipients of knowledge. Moreover, the students are involved in the knowledge construction and sharing through social interactions in the given learning context.

Following this paradigm, we have developed DEPTHS using active learning techniques, project-based learning, and collaborative learning.

For more information about the project, please visit the project site: http://www.learningdesignpatterns.org
Project team: Zoran Jeremic, Jelena Jovanovic and Dragan Gasevic