Any Software Engineer worth his or her salt knows that most modern software development is, in fact, maintenance. While students are likely to be aware of Corrective Maintenance (“classic maintenance”), few may be aware of Adaptive or ( especially) Perfective Maintenance. Furthermore, students may not have been exposed to a variety of scenarios portraying maintenance types. The following activity, involving the entire class, is designed to accomplish these objectives in 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the class. The only materials that are needed are Post-It style notes and writing utensils.
- Beforehand, allotting enough Post-It style notes for each student to have 1 or 2 turns, write a “C” (Corrective), “A” (Adaptive) or “P” (Perfective) on the back (the sticky side) of each note. Alternately, you could write all three letters and let the student circle one, though this may provide less variety.
- Pass one or two Post-It style notes to each student. If using more than one, ensure that they are receiving two different letters.
- Instruct the students to write a scenario on the front that matches the type of maintenance specified on the reverse. Encourage them to be creative and to choose a variety of software types, industries, etc.. This should take 2-3 minutes per note.
- Once complete, collect the notes or have the students place them on a whiteboard in the front of the classroom.
- Engaging one student at a time, read a random scenario and ask him or her to name the type of maintenance. Encourage the rest of the classroom to follow along, interjecting if they disagree or feel that it qualifies as more than one type.
By engaging students in this creative effort, you are giving them each the opportunity to imagine all 3 maintenance types in new scenarios. Note: You could expand this activity to include Preventative Maintenance as well if desired.