CIS 643 Syllabus

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This textbook was authored for the CIS 642/643 - Software Engineering Project I&II course at Kansas State University. This front matter is specific to that course. If you are not enrolled in the course, please disregard this section.

CIS 643 - Software Engineering Project II

Instructor Contact Information

  • Instructor: Nathan Bean (nhbean AT ksu DOT edu)
  • Office: DUE 2216
  • Phone: (785)483-9264 (Call/Text)
  • Website:
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30pm-3:30pm
  • Virtual Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom or MS Teams. Schedule a meeting via email or MS Teams Direct Message.

Preferred Methods of Communication:

  • Chat: Quick questions via Discord is the preferred means of communication.   Questions whose answers may benefit the class I would encourage you to post in the course channel, as this keeps a public history your classmates can review. More personal questions should be direct messaged to me.
  • Email: For questions outside of this course, email to is preferred.
  • Phone/Text: 785-483-9264 Emergencies only! I will do my best to respond as quickly as I can.


  • CIS 308
  • CIS 501

Students may enroll in CIS courses only if they have earned a grade of C or better for each prerequisite to these courses.

Course Overview

The second semester of a two-semester capstone course. Current practices of software development, requirements, design, prototyping, measures and evaluation. Specification, design, and prototyping of a software system.

Course Description

You will be creating professional-grade software to tackle a real-world application that will be released as an open-source project to the public. This includes:

  • Starting from an existing code base. Very rarely will you have the luxury of starting a real-world project from scratch. Almost always, you’ll have to start from an existing program, framework, or API specification, and adapt it to your customers’ needs. Existing code bases are often poorly or incorrectly documented, under- or completely non-tested, and full of spaghetti code.
  • Working as a team. You will very likely never work on a solo project in industry - modern software engineering involves teams of tens if not hundreds of programmers, plus many non-technical contributors as well. Good software development therefore involves tools and strategies to minimize code collisions and endure productive and healthy working relationships.
  • Working directly with customers to understand what the software needs to do and how it can be most useful to them. This includes usability design and testing, feature negotiation, and human relations.
  • Documenting the software as you develop it in a way that supports future maintenance and feature additions.
  • Creating test frameworks or applying validation frameworks to ensure your code does exactly what it is intended to do without any errors.
  • Refactoring spaghetti code and poor designs for greater efficiency and maintainability.
  • Using prototypes to explore new feature ideas for usability and functionality.
  • Employing a staged design, testing, and deployment process to ensure that only the highest-quality, functional, and well-tested code ever appears in front of regular users.

This bulleted list captures the course objectives - by the completion of the course you will need to have demonstrated mastery of each point through developing your software engineering project to earn an A.

Course Structure

This course is primarily an experiential learning (i.e. project-centric) course – you will be grouped into teams by the instructor and assigned a specific, real-world software application to develop. Each project also comes with real-world customers who will provide guidance and design priorities, judge usability, negotiate development schedules, and determine how well your software meets their needs. Your projects will be released as open-source projects and hosted on a public Github repository. You should realize that this project will be one of the criteria by which your future employers will judge your suitability, as well as the recommendations of both your instructor and customers.

Software Projects

Software projects will cover a wide range of uses as well as base technologies/development languages. The instructor will endeavor to match you to a project in your interest area, but this will not always be possible. In all cases, these are real-world projects that will go on to be used by hundreds or thousands of real-world users. Good design is essential and serves to support both these eventual users and to build your reputation as a software engineer.

Software project development will proceed using an Agile methodology with a two-week iterative development cycle. At the end of each cycle, you will release a tagged prototype version of your software using Git’s tagging functionality. This prototype will be graded for: 1) code quality – focusing on readability, maintainability, and efficiency, 2) documentation – focused on accuracy and coverage, 3) testing/verification processes – focused on depth and correctness of coverage.

You will conduct a stand-up meeting, a sprint review meeting, or a sprint planning meeting (or any combination of the above) during the assigned class period. As such, it is vital to the success of your project that you attend these meetings!

Development Teams

You will be assigned to a development team of 3-4 students. Each student is expected to contribute to all aspects of the development process. This means that you will not have a documentation guru or a testing guru who only writes documentation or tests. Every member should carry part of the responsibility for writing code, tests, and documentation, as well as working with customers. However, you can divide duties in such a way for a specific design iteration – but by the end of the project each member should have contributed equally in each area.

Every two weeks you will have a formal review and planning meeting with some or all of your customers, at which point they will evaluate your iteration’s prototype for how well it meets their needs. This meeting will be scheduled during the course lab time to facilitate coordination of schedules. It is a mark of respect and professionalism to be on-time, well-prepared, and well groomed for these meetings. Missing a meeting (with the exception of emergency circumstances) will result in an automatic lowering of your grade by a full letter (1 on a 4-point scale). The customers’ evaluations, along with a survey of how well they felt the team interacted with them during the design iteration, will be the basis of your customer relation grade. This grade will be adjusted by the instructors if the team members arrive late, are ill-prepared, appear in inappropriate attire (for these meetings, you should be in business casual).

Process Fidelity

Each team will also be responsible for making adequate usage of the many tools developed to enhance and expedite the software development process. At a minimum, the development team should be using 1) a code repository to manage the sharing of team code (Git publicly hosted through GitHub or the departmental GitLab server is required) 2) a feature planning and bug tracking system like GitHub or GitLab issues, and 3) a documentation wiki (Use the Github or GitLab built-in Wiki). Each of these is a tool you should be using throughout the development cycle, not simply something you throw data into right before your next meeting. You will be graded on how regularly and effectively you utilize these tools.

In addition, Agile software development utilizes a set of artifacts – physical and visual representations of the project’s goals and progress. These help teams and managers quickly assess what needs to be done on a project and how far along the process is. Your team will also need to make appropriate and regular use of these artifacts, including: 1) velocity chart, and 2) burn-down chart.


This course uses a different approach to grading than you are probably used to, criterion grading. In criterion grading, there is no concept of a ‘partial score’; instead your work is either acceptable (and you earn full points), or unacceptable (and you earn no points). This is reflective of industry practice - if you fail in your job, you will get fired.

Each activity you are tasked with is worth a certain number of points, and the guidelines for what is acceptable will be spelled out in the assignment description, so read them carefully!

In addition, exceptional work may be rewarded with a bonus of 5% of the points set for the assignment.


For each sprint, your project needs to:

  1. Implement the features you agreed to in your sprint planning meeting
  2. Thoroughly document those features
  3. Thoroughly test or verify those features You should keep this in mind when you negotiate with your customers as to what features you will add to your prototype. In effect, you are negotiating the criteria for an acceptable grade!

Grades will be issued on a 4-point scale, with 4=A and 0=F. Grades will be issued for each category according to this breakdown:

Grade Category Consists Of % Final Grade
Class Participation Lectures, Class Discussions, Class Activities, Presentations 20%
Software Projects Code Reviews, Documentation, Testing, Functionality 20%
Development Teams Peer Reviews, Meeting Attendance, Project Contributions 20%
Customer Relations Usability of Application, Quality of Interactions, Professionalism 20%
Process Fidelity Regularity of tools, creation and usage, of appropriate charts and metrics 20%

Each category is equally important for your preparation for becoming a software engineer - remember, it isn’t only about writing good code, it’s about making that code useful to society!

Late Work

Late work is considered unacceptable, and as such will result in no points earned on the assignment. As Seniors you should have developed sufficient time management and planning skills to keep on top of your due dates.

For your sprints, remember that in your sprint planning, you are setting your commitments by what you add to your sprint backlog - don’t overcommit! At the same time, you need to be making enough progress to keep your customer happy while ensuring your software is of sufficient quality and adequately documented and tested.

Dress Policy

As indicated in the customer relations section, students are expected to wear at a minimum business casual attire for the bi-weekly review and planning meetings with their customers. For other meetings with customers. Career and Employment Services publishes guides to professional and casual attire for men and women on their site ( These will be used as the grading rubric within this area, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the expectations!

For obtaining inexpensive business formal and casual wear options, there are many opportunities available to you:

  • CES offers the career closet every Monday-Friday, 8am - 5pm at the Berney Family Welcome center to find gently-used professional wear. Students can typically take up to three articles. Monetary donations will go to the Manhattan Emergency Shelter.
  • Several thrift stores in Manhattan carry business professional and casual attire at affordable prices (listed by proximity to campus):
    • Salvation Army, 310 Poyntz Avenue
    • Goodwill, 421 E. Poyntz Avenue
    • Grand Old Trunk, 1304 Pillsbury Drive

Subject to Change

The details in this document are not set in stone – there may need to be adjustments made throughout the semester. If this occurs, changes will be posted to the K-State online page and emailed to student’s K-State email addresses.

Standard Syllabus Statements


The statements below are standard syllabus statements from K-State and our program. The latest versions are available online here.

Academic Honesty

Kansas State University has an Honor and Integrity System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one’s work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor and Integrity System. The policies and procedures of the Honor and Integrity System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. A component vital to the Honor and Integrity System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: “On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work.” A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation.

For this course, a violation of the Honor Pledge will result in sanctions such as a 0 on the assignment or an XF in the course, depending on severity. Actively seeking unauthorized aid, such as posting lab assignments on sites such as Chegg or StackOverflow, or asking another person to complete your work, even if unsuccessful, will result in an immediate XF in the course.

This course assumes that all your course work will be done by you. Use of AI text and code generators such as ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot in any submission for this course is strictly forbidden unless explicitly allowed by your instructor. Any unauthorized use of these tools without proper attribution is a violation of the K-State Honor Pledge.

We reserve the right to use various platforms that can perform automatic plagiarism detection by tracking changes made to files and comparing submitted projects against other students’ submissions and known solutions. That information may be used to determine if plagiarism has taken place.

Students with Disabilities

At K-State it is important that every student has access to course content and the means to demonstrate course mastery. Students with disabilities may benefit from services including accommodations provided by the Student Access Center. Disabilities can include physical, learning, executive functions, and mental health. You may register at the Student Access Center or to learn more contact:

Students already registered with the Student Access Center please request your Letters of Accommodation early in the semester to provide adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. Once SAC approves your Letter of Accommodation it will be e-mailed to you, and your instructor(s) for this course. Please follow up with your instructor to discuss how best to implement the approved accommodations.

Expectations for Conduct

All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws, Article V, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.

Mutual Respect and Inclusion in K-State Teaching & Learning Spaces

At K-State, faculty and staff are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. K-State courses, labs, and other virtual and physical learning spaces promote equitable opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, and succeed, regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, genetic information, ancestry, disability, socioeconomic status, military or veteran status, immigration status, Indigenous identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, religion, culture, as well as other social identities.

Faculty and staff are committed to promoting equity and believe the success of an inclusive learning environment relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all students. Students are encouraged to share their views and lived experiences as they relate to the course or their course experience, while recognizing they are doing so in a learning environment in which all are expected to engage with respect to honor the rights, safety, and dignity of others in keeping with the K-State Principles of Community.

If you feel uncomfortable because of comments or behavior encountered in this class, you may bring it to the attention of your instructor, advisors, and/or mentors. If you have questions about how to proceed with a confidential process to resolve concerns, please contact the Student Ombudsperson Office. Violations of the student code of conduct can be reported using the Code of Conduct Reporting Form. You can also report discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment, if needed.



This is our personal policy and not a required syllabus statement from K-State. It has been adapted from this statement from K-State Global Campus, and theRecurse Center Manual. We have adapted their ideas to fit this course.

Online communication is inherently different than in-person communication. When speaking in person, many times we can take advantage of the context and body language of the person speaking to better understand what the speaker means, not just what is said. This information is not present when communicating online, so we must be much more careful about what we say and how we say it in order to get our meaning across.

Here are a few general rules to help us all communicate online in this course, especially while using tools such as Canvas or Discord:

  • Use a clear and meaningful subject line to announce your topic. Subject lines such as “Question” or “Problem” are not helpful. Subjects such as “Logic Question in Project 5, Part 1 in Java” or “Unexpected Exception when Opening Text File in Python” give plenty of information about your topic.
  • Use only one topic per message. If you have multiple topics, post multiple messages so each one can be discussed independently.
  • Be thorough, concise, and to the point. Ideally, each message should be a page or less.
  • Include exact error messages, code snippets, or screenshots, as well as any previous steps taken to fix the problem. It is much easier to solve a problem when the exact error message or screenshot is provided. If we know what you’ve tried so far, we can get to the root cause of the issue more quickly.
  • Consider carefully what you write before you post it. Once a message is posted, it becomes part of the permanent record of the course and can easily be found by others.
  • If you are lost, don’t know an answer, or don’t understand something, speak up! Email and Canvas both allow you to send a message privately to the instructors, so other students won’t see that you asked a question. Don’t be afraid to ask questions anytime, as you can choose to do so without any fear of being identified by your fellow students.
  • Class discussions are confidential. Do not share information from the course with anyone outside of the course without explicit permission.
  • Do not quote entire message chains; only include the relevant parts. When replying to a previous message, only quote the relevant lines in your response.
  • Do not use all caps. It makes it look like you are shouting. Use appropriate text markup (bold, italics, etc.) to highlight a point if needed.
  • No feigning surprise. If someone asks a question, saying things like “I can’t believe you don’t know that!” are not helpful, and only serve to make that person feel bad.
  • No “well-actually’s.” If someone makes a statement that is not entirely correct, resist the urge to offer a “well, actually…” correction, especially if it is not relevant to the discussion. If you can help solve their problem, feel free to provide correct information, but don’t post a correction just for the sake of being correct.
  • Do not correct someone’s grammar or spelling. Again, it is not helpful, and only serves to make that person feel bad. If there is a genuine mistake that may affect the meaning of the post, please contact the person privately or let the instructors know privately so it can be resolved.
  • Avoid subtle -isms and microaggressions. Avoid comments that could make others feel uncomfortable based on their personal identity. See the syllabus section on Diversity and Inclusion above for more information on this topic. If a comment makes you uncomfortable, please contact the instructor.
  • Avoid sarcasm, flaming, advertisements, lingo, trolling, doxxing, and other bad online habits. They have no place in an academic environment. Tasteful humor is fine, but sarcasm can be misunderstood.

As a participant in course discussions, you should also strive to honor the diversity of your classmates by adhering to the K-State Principles of Community.

Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment

Kansas State University is committed to maintaining academic, housing, and work environments that are free of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment. Instructors support the University’s commitment by creating a safe learning environment during this course, free of conduct that would interfere with your academic opportunities. Instructors also have a duty to report any behavior they become aware of that potentially violates the University’s policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment, as outlined by PPM 3010.

If a student is subjected to discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment, they are encouraged to make a non-confidential report to the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) using the online reporting form. Incident disclosure is not required to receive resources at K-State. Reports that include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, should be considered for reporting by the complainant to the Kansas State University Police Department or the Riley County Police Department. Reports made to law enforcement are separate from reports made to OIE. A complainant can choose to report to one or both entities. Confidential support and advocacy can be found with the K-State Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE). Confidential mental health services can be found with Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Academic support can be found with the Office of Student Life (OSL). OSL is a non-confidential resource. OIE also provides a comprehensive list of resources on their website. If you have questions about non-confidential and confidential resources, please contact OIE at or (785) 532–6220.

Academic Freedom Statement

Kansas State University is a community of students, faculty, and staff who work together to discover new knowledge, create new ideas, and share the results of their scholarly inquiry with the wider public. Although new ideas or research results may be controversial or challenge established views, the health and growth of any society requires frank intellectual exchange. Academic freedom protects this type of free exchange and is thus essential to any university’s mission.

Moreover, academic freedom supports collaborative work in the pursuit of truth and the dissemination of knowledge in an environment of inquiry, respectful debate, and professionalism. Academic freedom is not limited to the classroom or to scientific and scholarly research, but extends to the life of the university as well as to larger social and political questions. It is the right and responsibility of the university community to engage with such issues.

Campus Safety

Kansas State University is committed to providing a safe teaching and learning environment for student and faculty members. In order to enhance your safety in the unlikely case of a campus emergency make sure that you know where and how to quickly exit your classroom and how to follow any emergency directives. Current Campus Emergency Information is available at the University’s Advisory webpage.

Student Resources

K-State has many resources to help contribute to student success. These resources include accommodations for academics, paying for college, student life, health and safety, and others. Check out the Student Guide to Help and Resources: One Stop Shop for more information.

Student Academic Creations

Student academic creations are subject to Kansas State University and Kansas Board of Regents Intellectual Property Policies. For courses in which students will be creating intellectual property, the K-State policy can be found at University Handbook, Appendix R: Intellectual Property Policy and Institutional Procedures (part I.E.). These policies address ownership and use of student academic creations.

Mental Health

Your mental health and good relationships are vital to your overall well-being. Symptoms of mental health issues may include excessive sadness or worry, thoughts of death or self-harm, inability to concentrate, lack of motivation, or substance abuse. Although problems can occur anytime for anyone, you should pay extra attention to your mental health if you are feeling academic or financial stress, discrimination, or have experienced a traumatic event, such as loss of a friend or family member, sexual assault or other physical or emotional abuse.

If you are struggling with these issues, do not wait to seek assistance.

For Kansas State Salina Campus:

For Global Campus/K-State Online:

  • K-State Online students have free access to mental health counseling with My SSP - 24/7 support via chat and phone.
  • The Office of Student Life can direct you to additional resources.

University Excused Absences

K-State has a University Excused Absence policy (Section F62). Class absence(s) will be handled between the instructor and the student unless there are other university offices involved. For university excused absences, instructors shall provide the student the opportunity to make up missed assignments, activities, and/or attendance specific points that contribute to the course grade, unless they decide to excuse those missed assignments from the student’s course grade. Please see the policy for a complete list of university excused absences and how to obtain one. Students are encouraged to contact their instructor regarding their absences.

©2021 The materials in this online course fall under the protection of all intellectual property, copyright and trademark laws of the U.S. The digital materials included here come with the legal permissions and releases of the copyright holders. These course materials should be used for educational purposes only; the contents should not be distributed electronically or otherwise beyond the confines of this online course. The URLs listed here do not suggest endorsement of either the site owners or the contents found at the sites. Likewise, mentioned brands (products and services) do not suggest endorsement. Students own copyright to what they create.

Original content in the course textbook at is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-SA license by Nathan Bean unless otherwise stated.