Master Practicum: Implementing and Practicing Inverse Transparency

Type Master Practicum
Semester Summer Semester 2021
Language English
TUMonline Link
Contact Valentin Zieglmeier


This practical course puts you in the role of a software engineer in a team that starts to practice Inverse Transparency principles. You start your semester by developing analysis software and generating usage data. We will use this time to improve your software development and teamwork skills. During development, you will reflect on and deliberate your design and implementation choices. You will have to decide which analyses are meaningful, which might not be sensible, and which should definitely not be used.

In the second half, you will utilize the generated data of your peers for analyses. You will assume the role of a software team lead who needs to judge their employees. Again, you will have the opportunity to discuss which analyses you want or do not want to use for this task. This allows you to experience both sides of the data usage relationship.

What is Inverse Transparency?

Employers have significant control over the data of their employees. To protect employees, the workers' councils often completely forbid usage of individual-related data by employers. This is not a perfect solution though. On the one hand, nobody can truly verify that managers adhere to this (more often than not, they probably don't). On the other hand, interesting data usages might be prevented, even if employees are in principle okay with it.

Inverse Transparency is a concept that we think can help overcome these hurdles. It is based on a simple principle: All data is accessible, but all data access is transparent and visible to the data owners. This makes misusage unattractive, as it can be retraced. Valuable and interesting data usages on the other hand are enabled in a transparent way.


The practicum aims to teach skills in multiple areas:

  • Software engineering
    • Implementing software of high quality
    • Software peer reviews
    • Pair programming
    • Software documentation
  • Deliberate software design
    • Considering the consequences of implementation decisions
    • Deliberation and reflection
  • Software team management
    • Guiding a team of software engineers
    • Data-driven people management
  • Soft skills
    • Communication skills
    • Teamwork
    • Organization
    • Responsibility


This practicum is aimed at advanced students that want to sharpen their coding and project management skills. If you match this description, please make sure to apply via our application form in order for us to prioritize you in the matching. Apply until the 17th of February to be considered.

Rules for participation

  1. Plagiarism of any form (blatant copy-paste, summarizing someone else's ideas/results without reference etc.) will result in immediate expulsion from the course.
  2. All submissions are mandatory. Each submission must fulfill a certain level of quality. Submissions failing to fulfill this will be graded 5.0.
  3. Late submissions will invite penalties.
  4. Non-adherence to the submission guidelines will invite penalties.
  5. Participation and attendance in all course meetings is mandatory. Students must read the final submissions of their colleagues and participate in the discussions.