Since PBL is a generic learning technique it has been successfully applied to a number of differing environments; medicine; dentistry; veterinary and more recently engineering. The Computer Science Department at NUI Maynooth decided to apply PBL to teach software engineering process to third year students. This PBL course was entitled “Real World Software Engineering.” The educational objective of the course was to teach software engineering process skills through a team-based software project. There is broad agreement that the teamwork aspect of software engineering curricula is inherent to the successful education of software engineers. PBL offered an excellent opportunity for students to practice, apply and develop skills such as problem solving, team building, ability to cope with change and both self and group assessment. This was the first opportunity the students had to experience PBL in a team-based environment. For this reason the emphasis of the module was on team-participation skills and on the application of software development processes rather than exclusively on the delivery of an end product. The course was developed for third year undergraduate students who had studied core computer science subjects but only had a limited amount of software engineering knowledge. It was decided to include the group project as part of the third year program for a number of reasons:
-Industry: feedback from industry indicated that the students found it difficult to apply software engineering skills during their work internships, which begin at the end of third year;
-Consolidation: it provides a means of consolidating the disparate skills and theoretical knowledge acquired after completing half of the degree program;
-Preparation: it prepares the students for their individual capstone project during the fourth year program.