ACM Transactions on Computing Education

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Computer Science (CS) Education in Indian Schools: Situation Analysis using Darmstadt Model

Mon, 05/04/2015 - 20:00
Raghu Raman, Smrithi Venkatasubramanian, Krishnashree Achuthan, Prema Nedungadi

Computer science (CS) and its enabling technologies are at the heart of this information age, yet its adoption as a core subject by senior secondary students in Indian schools is low and has not reached critical mass. Though there have been efforts to create core curriculum standards for subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Math, CS seems to have been kept outside the purview of such efforts leading to its marginalization. As a first step, using the Darmstadt model from the ITiCSE working group that provides a systematic categorization approach to CS education in schools, we coded and analyzed the CS situation for the Indian schools.

Computing Education in Korea—Current Issues and Endeavors

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 20:00
Jeongwon Choi, Sangjin An, Youngjun Lee

Computer education has been provided for a long period of time in Korea. Starting as a vocational program, the content of computer education for students evolved to include content on computer literacy, Information Communication Technology (ICT) literacy, and brand-new computer science. While a new curriculum related to computer science was established in 2007, the range of computer education being provided in Korean schools has been repeatedly reduced. To identify the cause of this recent phenomenon, we review the computer education environment using the Darmstadt model, including educational systems, curricula, and teaching environments. Then we examine what factors affected the decline of computer education.

Computer Science Education in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany—A Case Study

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 20:00
Maria Knobelsdorf, Johannes Magenheim, Torsten Brinda, Dieter Engbring, Ludger Humbert, Arno Pasternak, Ulrik Schroeder, Marco Thomas, Jan Vahrenhold

In North-Rhine Westphalia, the most populated state in Germany, Computer Science (CS) has been taught in secondary schools since the early 1970s. This article provides an overview of the past and current situation of CS education in North-Rhine Westphalia, including lessons learned through efforts to introduce and to maintain CS in secondary education. In particular, we focus on the differential school system and the educational landscape of CS education, the different facets of CS teacher education, and CS education research programs and directions that are directly connected with these aspects. In addition, this report offers a rationale for including CS education in general education, which includes the educational value of CS for students in today’s information and knowledge society.

Scalable Game Design: A Strategy to Bring Systemic Computer Science Education to Schools through Game Design and Simulation Creation

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 20:00
Alexander Repenning, David C. Webb, Kyu Han Koh, Hilarie Nickerson, Susan B. Miller, Catharine Brand, Ian Her Many Horses, Ashok Basawapatna, Fred Gluck, Ryan Grover, Kris Gutierrez, Nadia Repenning

An educated citizenry that participates in and contributes to science technology engineering and mathematics innovation in the 21st century will require broad literacy and skills in computer science (CS). School systems will need to give increased attention to opportunities for students to engage in computational thinking and ways to promote a deeper understanding of how technologies and software are used as design tools. However, K-12 students in the United States are facing a broken pipeline for CS education. In response to this problem, we have developed the Scalable Game Design curriculum based on a strategy to integrate CS education into the regular school curriculum.

How to Implement Rigorous Computer Science Education in K-12 Schools? Some Answers and Many Questions

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 20:00
Peter Hubwieser, Michal Armoni, Michail N. Giannakos

Aiming to collect various concepts, approaches, and strategies for improving computer science education in K-12 schools, we edited this second special issue of the ACM TOCE journal. Our intention was to collect a set of case studies from different countries that would describe all relevant aspects of specific implementations of Computer Science Education in K-12 schools. By this, we want to deliver well-founded arguments and rich material to the critical discussion about the state and the goals of K-12 computer science education, and also provide visions for the future of this research area. In this editorial, we explain our intention and report some details about the genesis of these special issues.

In Memoriam: Roland Mittermeir (1950--2014)

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 20:00
Peter Hubwieser, Michal Armoni, Michail Giannakos

A Purposeful MOOC to Alleviate Insufficient CS Education in Finnish Schools

Sun, 04/26/2015 - 20:00
Jaakko Kurhila, Arto Vihavainen

The Finnish national school curriculum, effective from 2004, does not include any topics related to Computer Science (CS). To alleviate the problem that school students are not able to study CS-related topics, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki prepared a completely online course that is open to pupils and students in all schools in Finland. The course is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), as the attendance scales without an upper bound. Schools in Finland have offered the MOOC as an elective CS course for their students and granted formal school credits for completing (parts of) it.

Introduction to the Special Issue on Web Development

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:00
Craig S. Miller, Randy Connolly

Despite its prevalence in computing, web development is underrepresented in computing curricula and computing education research. This special issue takes a step towards improving its representation with three articles on web development education. Drawing upon diverse methods from a variety of contexts, the articles address challenges of teaching web development and common difficulties students encounter when learning particular concepts. All three articles identify web development as a promising avenue for motivating students in their study of computing.

Uncovering “Threshold Concepts” in Web Development: An Instructor Perspective

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:00
Peter Alston, David Walsh, Gary Westhead

The field of Web development has evolved and diversified significantly in recent years, and narrowing the gap between the requirements of academia and the demands of industry remains a challenge. Moreover, many faculty members often struggle with knowing “how much” of a particular subject they should teach to their students and at what level. This small-scale, exploratory study seeks to uncover the existence of “threshold concepts” within Web development. Threshold concepts are the fundamental concepts which, once mastered, allow a learner to progress to a deeper understanding of a subject. An online questionnaire was sent out to 24 instructors within UK higher education institutions who teach Web development subjects.

Investigating Essential Factors on Students' Perceived Accomplishment and Enjoyment and Intention to Learn in Web Development

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:00
Yulei (Gavin) Zhang, Yan (Mandy) Dang

Web development is an important component in the curriculum of computer science and information systems areas. However, it is generally considered difficult to learn among students. In this study, we examined factors that could influence students' perceptions of accomplishment and enjoyment and their intention to learn in the web development course. Specifically, we investigated both student-related and instructor-related factors. A research model was developed. To empirically test the model and the hypotheses, the survey method was used and the structural equation modeling (SEM) technique was adopted for data analysis. Overall, the results indicated that both student-related factors (perceived web development efficacy and motivation) and instructor-related factors (instructor characteristics and teaching method) could significantly influence students' perceptions toward accomplishment and enjoyment and their intention to learn web development.

An Analysis of HTML and CSS Syntax Errors in a Web Development Course

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 19:00
Thomas H. Park, Brian Dorn, Andrea Forte

Many people are first exposed to code through web development, yet little is known about the barriers beginners face in these formative experiences. In this article, we describe a study of undergraduate students enrolled in an introductory web development course taken by both computing majors and general education students. Using data collected during the initial weeks of the course, we investigate the nature of the syntax errors they make when learning HTML and CSS, and how they resolve them. This is accomplished through the deployment of openHTML, a lightweight web-based code editor that logs user activity. Our analysis reveals that nearly all students made syntax errors that remained unresolved in their assessments, and that these errors continued weeks into the course.

Teaching Computer Vision: Bringing Research Benchmarks to the Classroom

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 19:00
Tal Hassner, Itzik Bayaz

This article concerns the design of effective computer vision programming exercises and presents a novel means of designing these assignments. We describe three recent case studies designed to evaluate the effectiveness of assigning graduate-level computer vision students with publicly available research benchmarks as competitive assignments. This was done rather than assigning more traditional exercises that require students to implement specific algorithms or applications. We allowed our students the freedom of designing or choosing their own methods, with the goal of obtaining the best performance on the benchmark chosen for each assignment. Students, therefore, competed against each other, as well as published state of the art.

From Scratch to “Real” Programming

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 19:00
Michal Armoni, Orni Meerbaum-Salant, Mordechai Ben-Ari

Computer science (CS) activities for young students are widely used, particularly visual programming environments. We investigated the use of the Scratch environment for teaching CS concepts to middle school students. In a previous article [Meerbaum-Salant et al. 2013], we reported on the extent to which the CS concepts were successfully learned. In this article, we look at the transition from studying CS with the visual Scratch environment in middle school to studying CS with a professional textual programming language (C# or Java) in secondary school. We found that the programming knowledge and experience of students who had learned Scratch greatly facilitated learning the more advanced material in secondary school: less time was needed to learn new topics, there were fewer learning difficulties, and they achieved higher cognitive levels of understanding of most concepts (although at the end of the teaching process, there were no significant differences in achievements compared to ...