Required: Introduction to Software Testing (edition 2), Ammann and Offutt.
Required: Test Driven: Practical TDD and Acceptance TDD for Java Developers, Lasse Koskela, Manning Publications, 2007.
- CATALOG DESCRIPTION
Concepts and techniques for testing and modifying software in evolving environments.
Topics include software testing at the unit, module, subsystem, and system levels;
automatic and manual techniques for generating test data;
testing concurrent and distributed software;
designing and implementing software to increase maintainability and reuse;
evaluating software for change;
and validating software changes.
- COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES
Knowledge of quantitative, technical, and
practical methods that software engineers and developers
can use to test their software
Testing techniques and criteria for all phases of
software development—unit (developer) testing,
integration testing, system testing, etc.
Theoretical and practical knowledge of how to apply test criteria
to improve the quality of software
Knowledge of modern challenges and procedures to update
continuously evolving software
Understanding of best quantitative programming and
design practices for ensuring software can be
efficiently and effectively modified and tested
Understanding that maintainability and testability
are more important than efficiency for almost
all modern software projects
This course has two closely related themes.
First, more than half the effort in software development is devoted to
activities related to testing,
including test design, execution and evaluation.
This course will teach quantitative, technical, practical methods
that software engineers and developers can use to test their software,
both during and at the end of development.
more than half of software development effort is not new development,
but maintenance activities such as
adding new features,
migrating to new platforms,
and integrating third-party components into new projects.
These two themes are intertwined because much of the effort during
maintenance is testing the changes,
and much of the effort in testing is about
This course covers these two themes quantitatively,
with a solid basis in theory
and with practical applications.
These topics will be useful to strong programmers
in the Computer Science program,
as well as engineers,
who regularly integrate software components as part of their work.
These topics are of interest to and accessible to
students in a wide variety of specializations.
We will generate tests from mathematical models of the software
using structures from discrete math
(sets, graphs, logic, and grammars).
We will use examples from data structures
and require tests to be implemented in JUnit.
I expect you to read the relevant material before the class meets.
The lectures may not cover everything in the readings and
will often include material not found in the readings.
- GRADED ASSIGNMENTS
We will have graded assignments for most topics.
They will be posted on the class website,
and any clarifications or hints will be posted on the discussion board.
Some will require pencil and paper and others will require
modest programming or use of tools available from the Web.
You should submit assignments on paper and in class if possible.
If you have to miss class, you may submit via email.
No zip files please!
Assignments must be submitted at the beginning of class on the day they are due
to be counted as on time.
Late submissions will receive a
30% per week.
Per GMU policy, all assignments must be submitted before
the beginning of final exams.
You may work on assignments individually if you wish.
However, not only is collaboration how real software is built,
but also the best way to learn.
Therefore, collaborative assignments will receive a
5% bonus credit
If you work collaboratively,
list every collaborator
and a short summary of what each person did.
You can submit one assignment with multiple names
or work together to analyze the problem and develop the solution,
then complete the assignment separately.
You can collaborate
in teams of up to three
other students in SWE 437 this semester.
You may work with different partners with different assignments.
: You are NOT ALLOWED
to include “guest names.”
Every person listed as a collaborator must contribute.
If someone is listed as a collaborator but did not contribute,
all will be given a zero on the assignment and reported to the university
Instead of midterm exams, we will have weekly quizzes.
Quizzes will be given the first 10 or 15 minutes of class
and will cover material from the previous class meeting
from the reading assigned for that day.
students who miss or perform badly on a quiz can have one retake
- Scoring: The maximum score on a retake quiz is 80%.
- Replace: If you take the retake, your new score will count and the first score is dropped.
Students who want a retake a quiz must send an email to
the professor and the TA
telling us which quiz and when you want to take it.
- Times and locations: Retake quizzes will be offered
(1) immediately before class (Monday 4:00pm in Merten 3300),
(2) during the TA’s office hours (Wednesday 1:00pm-3:00pm in ENGR 5321),
(3) during the instructor’s office hours (Wednesday 3:30pm-5:00pm in ENGR 4430).
- Content: The retake quiz will be different from the one given in class,
but will cover the same topics.
- Timing: The retake quiz must be taken before the second class meeting after the in-class version.
All retakes must be completed before the end of the reading period.
- IN-CLASS EXERCISES
I strongly believe that active exercises in the classroom enhance learning.
Dr. Ammann has a good summary of why
Thus, we will have in-class exercises during most class meetings.
Some will be done as a class,
some will be done in small groups,
and a few may be individual exercises.
They will be graded on a pass or fail basis and
will count toward your overall grade.
They will be announced during class.
Credit can only be received if done in class,
although if you miss class,
you should do the posted assignments on your own to prepare for the
quizzes or final exam.
- DISCUSSION BOARD USE
All students will be enrolled in the discussion forum for SWE 437 on
You will receive an invitation via your Mason email.
We will use the discussion board throughout the semester.
Participation on piazza will count towards your participation grade.
Ask all technical questions about the material or the assignments on piazza.
You should post about software failures,
errors in the books or a slides,
or about topics that extend from our classroom discussion.
Participation must occur during the semester,
not after final exams start.
- IN-CLASS COMPUTER USE
Lectures in this class will be computer free
Computers, whether in the form of laptops, tablets, mobile phone, or pocket-computers,
be used while I am lecturing.
I have a
detailed explanation why
but here is the short summary:
Computers interfere with
your classmate’s ability to concentrate on the educational material,
Multitasking is a myth promulgated by inefficient people.
Taking notes by hand is much more effective than typing notes on a computer.
If you have to check your email or text messages,
or take a phone call,
please sit near the door so you can politely step out.
I will ask you to close your computers,
and if that doesn’t work,
will ask you to leave the classroom.
(Computers will be used extensively during in-class exercises, discussions, and examples.)
- OFFICE HOURS
Office hours are times that I commit to being in my office,
You do not need an appointment,
and no appointments are made.
If you cannot make my office hours, then we can set up an appointment.
I will inform you in class or on the discussion board if I have to miss office hours.
- ELECTRONIC PRESENCE
I always accept linkedin
requests from current and former students—we clearly have a professional relationship.
(Be sure to remind me when you took my class.)
I tweet random thoughts irregularly about software engineering
Out of respect,
I do not initiate
requests from students, but usually accept them.
- HONOR CODE STATEMENT
As with all GMU courses,
SWE 437 is governed by the GMU Honor Code
In this course, all
quizzes and exams
carry with them an implicit statement that it is the sole work of the author,
unless joint work is explicitly authorized.
If joint work is authorized,
all contributing students must be listed on the submission.
Any deviation from this is considered an Honor Code violation,
and as a minimum, will result in failure of the submission
and as a maximum, failure of the class
- OFFICE OF DISABILITY SERVICES
If you need academic accommodations,
please see me and contact the
Disability Resource Center
(DRC) at 993-2474.
All academic accommodations must be arranged through the DRC.
- OTHER USEFUL CAMPUS RESOURCES
I occasionally send important announcements to your Mason email account,
so you must read it regularly.
Professors are required to use your Mason email, not a personal email accounts.
Email sent to the professor or TA should have a subject that starts with “swe 437.”
If not, we may not notice it.
Questions about the technical material and class policies should be posted on the discussion board,
not sent through email.
- GRADING POLICIES
- Participation (discussion board and in-class): 15%
- Assignments: 20%
- Quizzes: 30%
- Closed book, in-class, comprehensive final exam: 35%