Injecting Safety-Critical Thinking into Graduate Software Engineering Projects — Jane Cleland-Huang

How can we teach students about safety-critical thinking? Jane is going to share her experiences with us. The course under study is a 5 month project based course, where all student teams needed to work with some hardware: drones, health sensors, phones and visors (pretty cool). So why are these projects about safety? Well one of the teams lost control of their drone and almost crashed into a very busy highway (‘luckily’ it crashed into a lake 🙂 ) After that it was quite clear to all students that there was a safety aspects!

All of the projects had some safety implications like this, drones, but also health sensors and visors for firemen. Now how to get the students to really think about safety? The setup of the course was like this:

So one of the tools they use is FMECA (sprint #1) and having students to test their projects in real life (sprint #2), and present all implications (sprint #3). Clearly not all the products were absolutely safe (remember the crash…), but Jane states that was not really the goal, for that the course is too short and too much focused on building too. But, the goal was to think about safety and that did seem to work:

Looking back, new versions of the course now just have one device to be a bit more manageable and focuses.

There is a preprint also!