DecidArch: Playing Cards as Software Architects

AbstractTeaching software architecture is a challenge because of the difficulty to expose students to actual meaningful design situations. Games can provide a useful illustration of the design decision making process, and teach students the power of team interaction for making sound decisions. We introduce a game –DecidArch– developed to achieve three learning objectives: 1) create awareness about the rationale involved in design decision making, 2) enable appreciation of the reasoning behind candidate design decisions proposed by others, and 3) create awareness about interdependencies between design decisions. The game has been played by  groups with a total of  players, all of them students of the VU software architecture course. We present some of the lessons learned, both from our observation and through participant survey. We conclude that the game well supports our three learning objectives, and we identify several improvement points for future game editions.

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