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COMP 523: Software Engineering

Fall '21 Lecture Notes - Wed Aug 18 - Course Overview

Course website (about the most obvious URL possible, no?)

Introductions - me

Introductions - you

Please visit for a brief poll.

(Polls count for class participation credit so should not be considered optional.)

Classroom policies

Why take COMP 523?

About COMP 523

This course is unusual:

Target audience: upper-level (junior and senior) CS majors

You will be building real software for real people in this course!

Key idea: you will team up in groups of (probably) 3 or (maybe) 4 for the duration of the semester to work on your project.

Poll: do you have teammates in mind already?

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, each student will have experienced all aspects of a software development project, including:

  • working with a client to define goals and priorities
  • designing a system
  • scheduling and planning a multi-person project
  • effective communications
  • running meetings
  • writing technical documentation
  • preparing web content
  • writing and testing code
  • deploying the system
  • public presentations


There are 3 types of people you will collaborate with this semester:

  1. Your teammates
  2. Your client: the one who wants the software you’ll build, perhaps a UNC professor or researcher or a local entrepreneur
  3. Your mentor: somebody to help you along the way, either TA Vraj or a professional software engineer

More on mentors

Team/client/mentor assignments



Honor code

Grading policies

Grading weights

Grading cutoffs

Attendance/participation grades

Quiz grades

cover of debugging book by David J. Agans

Project grades

Individual grade multiplier



Getting help

Dealing with stress

Accessibility Resources and Services (ARS)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in barriers to fully accessing University courses, programs and activities.

Accommodations are determined through the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. See the ARS website for contact information or email

Title IX Resources

Any student who is impacted by discrimination, harassment, interpersonal (relationship) violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or stalking is encouraged to seek resources on campus or in the community. Please contact the Director of Title IX Compliance (Adrienne Allison –, Report and Response Coordinators in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (, Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential), or the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (; confidential) to discuss your specific needs. Additional resources are available at

Dropping the course

Please don’t drop after teams are assigned! This will be a difficult situation for your assigned teammates.