Do you learn more from reading a book than from surfing on the Internet?
The art of learning computer science
How do students learn university-level computer science? This is being studied by a didactics team at the Department of Information Technology in an ongoing research project. The goal is to understand how learning takes place, in order to provide teachers with ideas for how computer courses should be set up to produce good study outcomes.
The project targets what types of aids students use for learning. Not only that; the researchers are probing how students apprehend the subject matter. Is there any correlation between your choice of study aid, how you use the aid, and what you learn? Study aids in this case can include textbooks, lectures, working with other students, www documents, various forms of computer aids, practical exercises, and lab projects. Different students use different combinations of aids. On top of this, the aids are used in different ways. Can different categories of students be discerned based on what aids they choose and how they use them? If so, is there any correlation between these different categories and how well they succeed as learners?
The project focuses on introductory courses in object-oriented programming and numerical analysis. The researchers are also looking at more advanced courses where students are learning about computer communication through international student collaboration in practical projects. Conclusions will be primarily based on interviews with students.
The results can lead to recommendations for teachers and others who arrange courses regarding how courses in the subject of computer science should be set up to produce good results. What aids should be provided, how should subject matter be presented? In this way the project can help improve learning outcomes in various types of computer science education, not only at the university level, but also in high schools and in further education.
The type of knowledge the project generates is expected to also be useful as a basis for the training of future computer teachers.
Foto: © Martin Cejie
”Is there any correlation between choice of study aids, how you use study aids, and what you learn? The goal of the project is to understand how learning takes place.”