Designing for engagement : building IT systems
Corney, Malcolm W. (2009) Designing for engagement : building IT systems. In ALTC First Year Experience Curriculum Design Symposium 2009, 5-6 February 2009, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
The School of Information Technology at QUT has recently undertaken a major restructuring
of their Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) course. Some of the aims of this
restructuring include a reduction in first year attrition and to provide an attractive degree
course that meets both student and industry expectations. Emphasis has been placed on
the first semester in the context of retaining students by introducing a set of four units that
complement one another and provide introductory material on technology, programming and
related skills, and generic skills that will aid the students throughout their undergraduate
course and in their careers.
This discussion relates to one of these four fist semester units, namely Building IT Systems.
The aim of this unit is to create small Information Technology (IT) systems that use
programming or scripting, databases as either standalone applications or web applications.
In the prior history of teaching introductory computer programming at QUT, programming has
been taught as a stand alone subject and integration of computer applications with other
systems such as databases and networks was not undertaken until students had been given
a thorough grounding in those topics as well. Feedback has indicated that students do not
believe that working with a database requires programming skills. In fact, the teaching of the
building blocks of computer applications have been compartmentalized and taught in
isolation from each other.
The teaching of introductory computer programming has been an industry requirement of IT
degree courses as many jobs require at least some knowledge of the topic. Yet, computer
programming is not a skill that all students have equal capabilities of learning (Bruce et al.,
2004) and this is clearly shown by the volume of publications dedicated to this topic in the
literature over a broad period of time (Eckerdal & Berglund, 2005; Mayer, 1981; Winslow,
The teaching of this introductory material has been done pretty much the same way over the
past thirty years. During this period of time that introductory computer programming courses
have been taught at QUT, a number of different programming languages and programming
paradigms have been used and different approaches to teaching and learning have been
attempted in an effort to find the golden thread that would allow students to learn this
complex topic. Unfortunately, computer programming is not a skill that can be learnt in one
semester. Some basics can be learnt but it can take many years to master (Norvig, 2001).
Faculty data typically has shown a bimodal distribution of results for students undertaking
introductory programming courses with a high proportion of students receiving a high mark
and a high proportion of students receiving a low or failing mark. This indicates that there
are students who understand and excel with the introductory material while there is another group who struggle to understand the concepts and practices required to be able to translate
a specification or problem statement into a computer program that achieves what is being
The consequence of a large group of students failing the introductory programming course
has been a high level of attrition amongst first year students. This attrition level does not
provide good continuity in student numbers in later years of the degree program and the
current approach is not seen as sustainable.
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|Item Type:||Conference Item (Other)|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)|
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
|Divisions:||Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology|
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2009 [please consult the author]|
|Copyright Statement:||This work is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia Licence. Under this Licence you are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work and to make derivative works. Attribution: You must attribute the work to the original authors and include the following statement: Support for the original work was provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Noncommercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build on this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au or send a letter to Creative Commons, 543 Howard Street, 5th Floor, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Requests and inquiries concerning these rights should be addressed to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, PO Box 2375, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 or through the website: http://www.altc.edu.au Published by the QUT Department of Teaching and Learning Support Services, February 2009.|
|Deposited On:||27 Nov 2009 11:22|
|Last Modified:||10 Jun 2010 00:11|
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