Yale SOM Class Management of Software Development

January 5th, 2015 by Miles Leave a reply »

Starting in just a few short days, we will be officially kicking off what I think is a first at Yale University: a class on managing software development.

While MGT 656 is housed at the Yale School of Management (the business school), it is open to students from across the university.
Kyle pointed me to the a NY Times article about business schools embracing and teaching technology skills.  While not mentioned, we hope our course is very much in this trend.
The course is designed in a “flipped” model.  That means that students watch video lectures and do reading between classes.  They also complete a short quiz online and summit questions.  In our class, since Kyle developed the software for it, each student gets the opportunity to vote up or down each question submitted by their piers.  During class time, us as instructors address the highest ranked questions and engage in a live dialogue with students about the material.  Significant class time is devoted to activities and what would traditionally be called “homework” where the students work in teams to build software.  The TAs and professors are there to lead these activities and help with the hands on projects.
One of the exciting things about structuring the Q&A process this way is that it gives a measurable way to grade class participation and allows for an unbiased/anonymized interaction between students and instructor.  Rather than have only certain people ask questions or be called on in class based on social dynamics, the online system allows everyone to be comfortable participating in asking questions.  The thoughtful ones will be uprooted and addressed by us as instructors.
If you’re curious for a bit more about the flipped model and the academic research about its benefits, please check out this article.
I welcome your thoughts or reactions to the class format or content.  You can review much of the content online at the course website (some is still in draft as not totally complete).  Each module/class contains links to the reading and the video lectures.  The website is also used to submit homework and to ask questions.  Some of the material is still in draft form (and is marked as such) so please do continue to check back.
We have 40 business school students already enrolled in the course and will have ~30 students join from other schools.  I’m really pumped to work with and learn from the students who have expressed excitement and been in contact already.  Kyle makes great co-instructor as he has the technical skills and experience that compliment my own in this subject area.  I’m grateful to be working with him and have learned a lot already!