Like most universities, classes are held in large lecture halls designed for traditional lecture- and exam-based learning. But two teachers, Dora Dzvonyar and Lukas Alperowitz, in the Software Engineering program at TUM wanted to break out of the norm by designing courses where students apply theory through hands-on projects that better prepare them for employment.
Utilizing Atlassian, the teachers can organize, run, and scale a course for 100 students who are tasked with developing software solutions for real-world clients. During the course, every student creates a new branch in Bitbucket for every exercise and then commits the solution to the branch.
The teachers use pull requests to manage the review of all student exercises. The instructors can’t look at every pull request, so they use Jira Software to monitor progress with a Kanban board, scanning for mistakes and projects that might be in trouble. Finally, they use a distributed review process, with student assistants helping to review the pull requests and provide individual feedback to students.
Doing hands-on projects with Atlassian tools “is very motivating for the students,” says Dzvonyar, chair for applied software engineering at TUM. “Imagine in your university career if you had moderated a client meeting, or a sprint planning meeting, or backlog estimation meeting, …wouldn’t this have prepared you better for your job?” Last year, the class completed 11 mobile app projects, 72 sprints, over 4,300 commits, 1,100 pull requests, and 130 customer downloads.
TUM is also seeing improved communication and idea exchange with Confluence. Teams do their complete documentation in Confluence, and the teachers use it as their permanent knowledge base.
To learn more about their innovative teaching methods and use of Atlassian, watch the TUM Atlassian 2015 Summit presentation.