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Ways of experiencing the act of learning to program: A phenomenographic study of introductory programming students at university

Bruce, Christine S., McMahon, Camille A. , Buckingham, Lawrence I., Hynd, John R., & Roggenkamp, Michael G. (2003) Ways of experiencing the act of learning to program: A phenomenographic study of introductory programming students at university. QUT.

Abstract

Research Report: The research reported here investigates variation in first year university students’early experiences of learning to program, with a particular focus on revealingdifferences in how they go about learning to program. A phenomenographic researchapproach was used to reveal variation in relation to the act of learning to program. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with students who had either completed,or were recently completing a university level introductory programming subject. Theanalysis process revealed five different ways in which students go about learning toprogram in introductory university level units. These are captured in categories ofdescription which capture the critical dimensions of what students learn as well ashow they go about learning. Students may go about learning to program by:

• Following – where learning to program is experienced as ‘getting through’ the unit. • Coding – where learning to program is experienced as learning to code • Understanding and integrating – where learning to program is experienced as learning to write a program through understanding and integrating concepts • Problem solving – where learning to program is experienced as learning to do what it takes to solve a problem • Participating or enculturation – where learning to program is experienced as discovering what it means to become a programmer

The mapping of the variation constitutes a framework within which one aspect of theteaching and learning of introductory programming, how students go about it, may beunderstood. Implications for teaching and learning in introductory university curriculaassociated with each category are discussed. Recommendations for further researchare made.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 1756
Item Type: Report
Additional Information: A book chapter, based on this research, has been published as: Bruce, Christine S. and McMahon, Camille A. and Hynd, John R. and Roggenkamp, Mike G. and Stoodley, Ian D. and Buckingham, Lawrence I. (2006) Ways of experiencing the act of learning to program: A phenomenographic study of introductory programming students at university, in Bruce, Christine S. and Mohay, George M. and Smith, Glenn P. and Stoodley, Ian D. and Tweedale, Robyn, Eds. Transforming IT education: Promoting a culture of excellence, chapter 19, pages pp. 301-325. Informing Science Press.
Keywords: Phenomenographic approach, Computer science education, Introductory students, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > COMPUTER SOFTWARE (080300)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2005
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2011 02:05

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