With computing impacting most every professional field, it has become essential to provide pathways for students other than those majoring in computer science to acquire computing knowledge and skills. Virtually all employers and graduate and professional schools seek these skills in their employees or students, regardless of discipline. Academia currently leans towards approaches such as double majors or combined majors between computer science and other non-CS disciplines, commonly referred to as “CS+X” programs. These programs tend to require rigorous courses gleaned from the institutions’ courses for computer science majors. Thus, they may not meet the needs of majors in disciplines such as the social and biological sciences, humanities, and others. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) is taking an approach more suitably termed “X+CS” to fulfill the computing needs of non-CS majors. As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, we are developing a “computing” minor specifically to meet their needs. To date, we have piloted the first two of the minor’s approximately six courses. The first is a variation on the existing Computer Science I course required for majors but restricted to nonmajors. Both versions of the course use the Python language and cover the same programmingmore »
The Invisibility Issue: High School Students’ Informal Conceptions of Everyday Physical Computing Systems.
While making physical computational artifacts such as robots or electronic textiles is growing in popularity in CS education, little is known about student informal conceptions of these systems. To study this, we video-recorded think-aloud sessions (~10 minutes each) of 22 novice CS high school students explaining their understanding of everyday physical computing systems and qualitatively analyzed transcripts and student drawings for their structural, behavioral, and functional understanding of these systems. Most students identified the presence of programs in making these systems functional but struggled to account them structurally and behaviorally. A few students pointed out probable programming constructs in shaping underlying mechanisms, drawing from their prior programming experiences. To integrate these systems in computing education, we call for pedagogical designs to address the invisibility of computation—both of structural interconnections and of program execution.
- de Vries, E.; Hod, Y.; Ahn, J.
- Award ID(s):
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Proceedings of the 15th International Conference of the Learning Sciences - ICLS 2021
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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