Category Archives: 5. Courses

Teaching Materials for Agile Methods Course

I finally put my teaching materials for my agile methods course on this website. The slides are available in “source” form, i.e. Open/LibreOffice format, as well as PDFs. I also added supplementary materials like the videos I use for illustration purposes. The slides are made available using the Creative Commons BY-SA license and are based on a course I’ve been giving several times now. It is far from being perfect but obviously good enough for a real course. Feel free to use or copy from the slides for your own courses!

My goal is to keep improving the slides. I expect there to be a new version every year or maybe every semester. For me, this is an experiment. I honestly don’t know how to collaborate around a format like ODP and ODT. It sure doesn’t feel like source code. So, my best suggestion is that if you find this useful and would like to see it improve in a direction that suits you, please let me know of your suggestions. I might then incorporate the suggested changes into the slide set. In general, my philosophy is that the content will grow, but ideally in a consistent fashion.

Agile Methods Course at Tsinghua University

Update 2012-03-28: I made the course slides available to the public.

I just finished teaching a one-week course on agile methods at Tsinghua University, the top (mainland) Chinese engineering school and one of the two leading Chinese universities. My host told me that I was the first non-Chinese-speaking lecturer to have held such a short course, not only in Computer Science but at Tsinghua as a whole. (I’m sure there have been plenty of prior foreign lecturers, but apparently I was the first one not to teach for a whole semester, but only for this condensed one-week half-day type of course). Yay! Adventure and breaking new grounds is still possible on this planet.

Moreover, with my research partner Prof. Bai, I’ll be leading a joint distributed agile software development project, involving student teams from both Tsinghua University (THU) and Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU). The goal of the project is to learn about what makes or breaks distributed agile development. We’ll start with simple hypotheses but hope to grow this into something larger. We already have student teams, but are looking for more. If you are a software engineering student at either THU or FAU, please come and talk to us!


“Startupinformatik” is a German term for “informatics (computer science) for startups” that I just made up. It is intended to be close to “Wirtschaftsinformatik”, which is German for “informatics for businesses”. So it is about the business of startups and the role software (IT) plays in it. You can read my prior thoughts


Teaching Note for Case "User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit(A)" E-381(A)

Abstract: This is a teaching note for the free case “User-Generated Content Systems at Intuit(A)”, E-381(A), from the Stanford Free Case collection available at ECCH. The original case is a product management case in which Intuit, maker of consumer and small business financial software, faces the decision to “go social or not” for user help in its tax preparation software. The original case discusses the pros and cons of such a disruptive innovation. This teaching note provides pertinent questions to ask your students as well as my summary answers to these questions. I could not find an original teaching note hence I wrote this one. This is my first such note so any suggestions for improvement are welcome. The note is licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0; feel free to use it in your own teaching. The note’s home is my website. For attribution, please link to it.

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The Java IP Story

Every year, I teach the AMOS class, a lab course on “Agile Methods and Open Source” that combines lectures with a real software project that ideally turns into a startup (see the AMOS Project concept, in German). To explain open source, I have to introduce students to intellectual property rights, of which most have been blissfully unaware of until then. Nothing teaches concepts better than a colorful story, and so I have been using the IP strategies around Java to make this dry topic come alive. For fun, comments, and corrections, I’m providing the short version of my talk below, including commentary. (You can also download a PDF version of the talk, licensed as CC-BY 3.0. If you find this useful for teaching, please tell me.) Students at this point have a basic working understanding of intellectual property and exclusion rights. Please let me know what you think! Finally, IANAL.

Java is an important technology powering the modern web and in particular enterprise applications. It has a checkered intellectual property history, and with the recent acquisition of Sun, the Java creator and owner, by Oracle, things only stand to heat up. This slide set discusses some of the more interesting issues around Java intellectual property and its strategic use in business.

  1. What is Java?
  2. Short Java IP Story Time-Line
  3. Three Substories
  4. Java’s Challenge to the Windows Platform
  5. Microsoft and Java
  6. The OpenJDK Strategy (Open Core Model)
  7. Certification of Compatible Implementations
  8. Threats to Commercial Revenue
  9. Main Tools to Curtail “Competitors”
  10. Problems for Alternative Implementations
  11. Problems for OpenJDK Forks
  12. Thank you! and References

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Das AMOS Projektkonzept (2011)


Dieser Artikel stellt das AMOS Projektkonzept vor, welches ich in der Informatik-Lehre an der Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg einsetze. Ziel des AMOS Projekts ist es, Studierenden professionelle Softwareentwicklung in einem konkreten Projekt zu vermitteln, welches idealerweise zu einer Startup durch die am Ende ihres Studiums befindlichen Studierenden führt.

Das AMOS Projekt ist für mich eine neue Erfindung: Ich habe es das erste Mal 2010 so abgehalten. Deswegen dient dieser Artikel nicht nur der Schilderung des Projektkonzepts, sondern sollte auch als Aufforderung zum Kommentieren gelesen werden. Ich vermute, dass es anderswo in ähnlicher Form betrieben wird und würde gern von den dortigen Erfahrungen lernen.

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The 2010 AMOS Project (from OSR Group)

The AMOS Project is the Open Source Research Group’s main class, teaching students agile methods and open source practices. It is also part of my incubator for startups. We just finished the first year. For your convenience, here are links to the most recent and relevant blog posts on the 2010 AMOS Project.

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