Created in 2008 by Dr. Joseph Chao, the ASF actively engages the community, locates partners for student projects, and fosters corporate cooperation to cultivate the skills students need to excel in industry. The ASF, with a grant from the Agile Alliance and sponsorship from BGSU Information Technology Services and the Department of Computer Science, is the first program to integrate Agile methods into higher-education curriculum and has been featured in a number of information technology publications.
Service-learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Studies have shown that students who participate in service-learning are better prepared for a career in their chosen field than students who do not participate in service-learning. In computer software development, service-learning provides students with hands-on, real-world project experiences that cannot be replicated by a tightly controlled classroom project. The Agile Software Factory is dedicated to the cause of service-learning. By offering a quality service-learning experience to students, the ASF prepares them with the skills that employers are seeking.
The specific mission of the Factory is:
- To provide software services using agile methods for in-house and community partners who are in need of software development and, through these services.
- To provide hands-on service-learning opportunities to students in the BGSU Computer Science program.
Agile methods emphasize the production of small software units that are coded every few days to facilitate speedy turn-around of reactions from clients and faster overall development paths.
The Factory serves as a clearing house for project requests from in-house and community partners. Accepted projects provide agile software development opportunities for students while, at the same time, satisfying the needs and requirements of the Factory’s internal and external clients. The Factory also promotes faculty and student research in the area of agile software development, including research that compares and contrasts the agile methodology with traditional methodologies.
The Factory offers a range of software development services to its clients, including new software development, re-implementation or re-design of existing software, and maintenance of software previously delivered by the Factory.
Students benefit from the addition of a service-learning component to existing software development courses, from career-relevant part-time employment, from participation in independent research/development projects with senior faculty, and from work experiences similar to internships or co-ops.