CSC News

February 24, 2004

Williams, Rappa receive IBM Eclipse grant for OpenSeminar project

Laurie Williams, assistant professor of computer science, and Michael Rappa, the Alan T. Dickson Distinguished University Professor of Technology Management in the College of Business Management, recently received a $25,000 IBM Eclipse Innovation Award for their project, “Establishing an OpenSeminar for Eclipse-based Software Engineering Education.” They propose to create and initially populate an OpenSeminar Web site for Eclipse-based software engineering education.

Using OpenSeminar, professors from different universities will be able to work collaboratively to create an online seminar and to customize it to the needs of their students. These educational resources will be freely available to all software engineering professors and Eclipse users via the Internet.

Eclipse is a popular software development infrastructure developed by IBM for use by professional software developers and faculty in teaching software engineering and their students. By choosing from available plug-ins, users can customize the Eclipse development environment. This allows professors to choose plug-ins that match the learning objectives of the course. This environment enables students to learn important lessons about open source technology and program modularity. In Williams’ class, students develop plug-ins for Eclipse.

Williams and Rappa have had considerable experience in the development of open courseware. Rappa manages the online Open Courseware Laboratory as the host site for his course, “Managing the Digital Enterprise.” This fall, Williams, who uses Eclipse in teaching software development, will use the site as a base for one of her courses.

OpenSeminar was developed by a team of computer science, computer engineering and management students led by Rappa. It will ultimately be made available to the public as an open courseware resource and can be adopted by other instructors to teach courses of their own. Presently, it is being made available to North Carolina State University faculty and staff for the development and operation of open educational Web sites and for conducting research online. The ultimate goal is for faculty worldwide to use the site, which is best suited for seminar-style courses.

Computer science students Martin Davidsson and Sarah Smith are working with Williams and Rappa to prepare the site for greater public use.

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