Increasing Student Self-Reliance and Engagement in Model-Checking Courses


Courses on formal methods focus on two aspects: teaching formalisms and exemplary applications as well as teaching techniques for implementing tools such as model checkers. In this article, we discuss the second aspect and typical shortcomings of corresponding courses. As courses often focus on theoretical results, opportunities for working on real implementations are scarce. In conse- quence, students are easily overwhelmed with transfer tasks, e.g., when working on existing model checkers during theses or research projects. We present several iterations of our course on model checking, including their goals, course execution as well as feedback from peers and students. Additionally, we discuss how the Covid-19 epidemic impacted our course format and how it was made more suitable for online teaching. Finally, we use these insights to discuss the influence of formality on student engagement, and how to incorporate more practical aspects by introducing inquiry and research-based teaching.

In Proceedings Formal Methods Teaching Workshop and Tutorial (FMTea 2021), Springer LNCS
Sebastian Krings
Sebastian Krings
Software Engineer

My interests include software analysis, formal methods and offensive security.