Improving Engagement of Students in Software Engineering Courses through Gamification

While our society increasingly depends on software for more and more aspects of civic, commercial and social life, software engineers struggle to ensure that software achieves the necessary high quality this requires. Although the discipline of software engineering offers different techniques and strategies to ensure quality, programmers in practice are reluctant to engage with them, with detrimental effects on software quality.

A root cause of this situation lies in how software developers are educated: Software engineering education generally tends to focus more on the creative aspects of design and coding, whereas the more laborious and less entertaining activities are neglected; this disengagement with software quality assurance techniques carries over to practice.
We therefore need a fundamental change in how software engineering is taught and perceived. Tomorrow’s software engineers need to be raised with an appreciation of software quality, and quality assurance techniques need to become a natural aspect of software development, rather than a niche topic.

To achieve this attitudinal change, the IMPRESS project will explore the use of gamification, i.e., the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-gaming contexts, which has seen successful applications in other domains.

All gamified interactive content produced by IMPRESS will be provided as free, open and public assets.