Dec 03, 2002 by
Information Technology Editorial Board
The material is a resource center for The Unified Modeling Language? (UML) and the related commercial products of Rational Software.
Type of Material:
This material could be used by students as background reading on UML or as background material by faculty who are preparing courses in Software Engineering, Modeling, or indeed UML. Students can read some of the whitepapers. They can learn from the CD entitled "Inside the UML" about UML modeling using Rational Rose.
This site is in html.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students can find out about FAQs for beginners, documents that define the UML, tutorials, whitepapers and recommended reading. In addition, it facilitates the reader with UML and to make readers aware of the various tools and services marketed by Rational to support modeling in UML.
Target Student Population:
Students in software engineering, and systems analysis and design courses. The site is also best used for senior undergraduate students or graduate students. It is also an excellent resource for faculty.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Some understanding of object technology is required.A thorough understanding of software engineering, the role of modeling in the software development process, and object-oriented terminology.
Evaluation and Observation
The strength of the material is its comprehensiveness. It is technically extremely sound. There are 8 whitepapers that address some aspects of modeling. The CD entitled "Inside the UML" is a multimedia introduction to UML modeling using Rational Rose. Recommended reading list contains three categories of books. There is an online discussion board.
Linked learning materials are limited to the CD entitled "Inside the UML" from Rational Software and other tutorials that can be purchased from ICONIX.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site is very comprehensiveness and will give the knowledgeable user easy access to a wealth of material relevant to UML.
The limited online learning material available makes the site difficult to use as a teaching tool. I have two concerns. First, the site is primarily intended to provide reference material and to advertise some of Rational's products. It is therefore rather
limited as a tool for teaching how to use UML. For example, I have not been able to find some simple examples of how to use UML to build a model for even a simple application. Similarly, although one can find successful cases on the use of UML by simply following a number of links, navigation to these cases is a long process (one first has to follow the link to documentation on UML to go to www.omg.org. This site then contains links to descriptions of successful uses of UML, some of which are, ironically, hosted by Rational).
Second, when browsing the site, it is not always clear whether one is looking at generic material or whether one is looking at material that is relevant to one of Rational's products. While this is certainly acceptable given the intentions of the site,
this feature makes it less suitable as a teaching tool.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The simple organization of the site makes it easy to use.The site is technically very sound. For example, I have been unable to detect any broken links. It is also an extremely good "portal" into material on UML hosted elsewhere
Hyperlink labels do not match the page titles in some cases (e.g. Clicking "Getting Started" and "UML Resources" lead to pages with the title "The Unified Modeling Language").
It is not always clear whether one is looking at material that is generic to UML or whether one is looking at material on products and/or services that are proprietary to the company hosting the site. This is especially worrisome if one is using the material to prepare generic courses.
Also, it is good to bear in mind that this site contains primarily reference material. This makes it suitable for students involved in (independent) research, but completely unsuitable for other students.
Other Issues and Comments:
A resource on UML should include links to other useful collections such as Cetus Links (Architecture and Design: Unified Modeling Language (UML)at http://mini.net/cetus/oo_uml.html#oo_uml_examples).