Kajal Claypool and Mark Claypool
Many projects currently used in Software Engineering curricula lack both the "fun factor" needed to engage students, as well as the practical realism of engineering projects that include other computer science disciplines such as Software Engineering, Networks, or Human Computer Interaction. This paper reports on our endeavor to enhance interest and retention in an existing Software Engineering curriculum through the use of computer game-based projects. Specifically, a set of game-centric, project-based modules have been developed that enable students to: (1) actively participate in the different phases of the software lifecycle taking a single project from requirement elicitation to testing and maintenance; (2) expose students to real issues in project and team management over the course of a 2-semester project; and at the same time (3) introduce students to the different aspects of computer game design. Preliminary results suggest the merits of our approach, showing improved class participation and performance.