In a previous publication we examined the connections between high-school computer science (CS) and computing higher education. The results were promising—students who were exposed to computing in high school were more likely to take one of the computing disciplines. However, these correlations were not necessarily causal. Possibly those students who took CS courses, and especially high-level CS courses in high school, were already a priori inclined to pursue computing education. This uncertainty led us to pursue the current research. We aimed at finding those factors that induced students to choose CS at high school and later at higher-education institutes. We present quantitative findings obtained from analyzing freshmen computing students' responses to a designated questionnaire. The findings show that not only did high-school CS studies have a major impact on students’ choice whether to study computing in higher education—it may have also improved their view of the discipline.
While virtual learning environments (VLEs) present several advantages, such as space-time flexibility, they are still not including proper opportunities and resources for students to engage in collaborative activities with their peers. Recent approaches, for example, are based on resources that are not standard for VLEs or usual for students. Thus, their integration with VLEs is not simple. This paper conducted a theoretical investigation to identify strategies that could induce collaborative behaviours in students. These strategies were implemented as learning objects running in a VLE and a quasi-experimental research design was conducted with 133 students. The results show that the approach promotes collaborative interactions between students and also tend to improve their learning outcomes. Moreover, learning objects use a conceptualization that is already established over the e-learning community, simplifying their integration with VLEs.
Computer science concepts have an important part in other subjects and thinking computationally is being recognized as an important skill for everyone, which leads to the increasing interest in developing computational thinking (CT) as early as at the comprehensive school level. Therefore, research is needed to have a common understanding of CT skills and develop a model to describe the dimensions of CT. Through a systematic literature review, using the EBSCO Discovery Service and the ACM Digital Library search, this paper presents an overview of the dimensions of CT defined in scientific papers. A model for developing CT skills in three stages is proposed: i) defining the problem, ii) solving the problem, and iii) analyzing the solution. Those three stages consist of ten CT skills: problem formulation, abstraction, problem reformulation, decomposition, data collection and analysis, algorithmic design, parallelization and iteration, automation, generalization, and evaluation.
Context: concept Maps (CMs) enable the creation of a schematic representation of a domain knowledge. For this reason, CMs have been applied in different research areas, including Computer Science. Objective: the objective of this paper is to present the results of a systematic mapping study conducted to collect and evaluate existing research on CMs initiatives in Computer Science. Method: the mapping study was performed by searching five electronic databases. We also performed backward snowballing and manual search to find publications of researchers and research groups that accomplished these studies. Results: from the mapping study, we identified 108 studies addressing CMs initiatives in different subareas of Computer Science that were reviewed to extract relevant information to answer a set of research questions. The mapping shows an increasing interest in the topic in recent years and it has been extensively investigated due to support in teaching and learning. Conclusions: based on our results we conclude that the use of CMs as an educational tool has been widely accepted in Computer Science.
The International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) aspires to be a science olympiad alongside such international olympiads in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Informatics as a discipline is well suited to a scientific approach and it offers numerous possibilities for competitions with a high scientific standing. We argue that, in its current form, the IOI fails to be scientific in the way it evaluates the work of the contestants.
In this paper, we describe the major ingredients of the IOI to guide further discussions. By presenting the results of an extensive analysis of two IOI competition tasks, we hope to create an awareness of the urgency to address the shortcomings. We offer some suggestions to raise the scientific quality of the IOI.