Educators teaching software engineering face a large problem when trying to assign “real world ” projects. Should the instructors make up “real world ” projects or have industry propose projects? I have tried both of these, with variable success and failure. Instructor-designed projects are great from an academic standpoint but students show little interest in them because “real people ” will not use the final product. Working with industry gives the student a real product to develop but can deteriorate academically. Projects solicited from not-for-profit organizations and university departments have succeeded in our course further than either of the aforementioned project sources. Students worry less about the grading criteria and more about what they are learning and how to use it to improve their project design and implementation. This paper shares experiences with different types of software engineering projects and shows the positive affects of projects originating from not-for-profit organizations and university departments
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