Students and instructors struggle to provide an integrated view of learning content that is spread over personal and shared file systems, course management systems, team project repositories, wikis, blogs, and other content storage and retrieval systems. Further, they struggle to organize this content when each system provides a different organizational mechanism and strategy. Course management systems fragment content by semester, course, and class session. File systems fragment content into hierarchically organized folders and files with only folder and file names to describe the content. Project repositories fragment information into versions, artifact types, and subsystems organized as folders. It is especially a challenge for a student who does not yet have the knowledge for how to organize and describe their learning content. We have developed an initial version of a learning and knowledge management system and piloted it for an Introduction to Software Engineering course. To hold the common repository of learning content, we used digital library technology. To organize content, we tagged content using subject headings based on the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) subject taxonomy. Instructors and students can contribute content, tag it using SWEBOK and other terms, and search through it using SWEBOK and other terms. The results of our pilot were mixed. A digital library-based repository is insufficient for dynamically changing and evolving content. A significant amount of learning content needs to be provided (more than for just one course), and there needs to be one location of record for accessing content, rather than multiple locations. A positive result was some validation that using SWEBOK to organize, tag, and search for content is helpful in readily accessing information and helping provide students with an understanding of the organization of knowledge of their discipline. Since the main intent of this research project was to gain some operational experience and initial validation of using a domain-specific taxonomy to organize learning content, we consider the project to be a success.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Presented at the 2008 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, June 22-25, 2008, Pittsburgh, PA.

© American Society for Engineering Education, 2008

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Software Engineering (GCCIS)


RIT – Main Campus