We present an overview of the nature of academic dishonesty with respect to computer science coursework. We discuss the efficacy of various policies for collaboration with regard to student education, and we consider a number of strategies for mitigating dishonest behaviour on computer science coursework by addressing some common causes. Computer science coursework is somewhat unique, in that there often exist ideal solutions for problems, and work may be shared and copied with very little effort. We discuss the idiosyncratic nature of how collaboration, collusion and plagiarism are defined and perceived by students, instructors and administration. After considering some of the common reasons for dishonest behaviour among students, we look at some methods that have been suggested for mitigating them. Finally, we propose several ideas for improving computer science courses in this context. We suggest emphasizing the intended learning outcomes of each assignment, providing tutorial sessions to facilitate acceptable collaboration, delivering quizzes related to assignment content after each assignment is submitted, and clarifying the boundary between collaboration and collusion in the context of each course. While this discussion is directed at the computer science community, much may apply to other disciplines as well, particularly those with a similar nature such as engineering, other sciences, or mathematics.
In spite of decades of use of agent-based modelling in social policy research and in educational contexts, very little work has been done on combining the two. This paper accounts for a proof-of-concept single case-study conducted in a college-level Social Policy course, using agent-based modelling to teach students about the social and human aspects of urban planning and regional development. The study finds that an agent-based model helped a group of students think through a social policy design decision by acting as an object-to-think-with, and helped students better connect social policy outcomes with behaviours at the level of individual citizens. The study also suggests a set of new issues facing the design of Constructionist activities or environments for the social sciences.
A long-term observation of students' usage of a dynamic geometry in a classroom at all grade levels has challenged to develop an approach for learning and understanding mathematics in an easier way for both students and teachers. The paper deals with the results of a study that investigates the process and outcomes of the implementation of abstract data types in dynamic sketches (by composing scripts) for learning geometry. Four abstract data types have been developed and defined using algebraic specifications. The development of a dynamic sketch scenario with the implementation of these abstract data types is presented in detail. An example of creating an interactive microworld, using abstract data types, is presented and discussed as well.
A recent report by the joint Informatics Europe & ACM Europe Working Group on Informatics Education emphasizes that: (1) computational thinking is an important ability that all people should possess; (2) informatics-based concepts, abilities and skills are teachable, and must be included in the primary and particularly in the secondary school curriculum. Accordingly, the "2013 Best Practices in Education Award" (organized by Informatics Europe) was devoted to initiatives promoting Informatics Education in Primary and Secondary Schools. In this paper we present one of the winning projects: "Multi-Sensory Informatics Education". We have developed effective multi-sensory methods and software-tools to improve the teaching-learning process of elementary, sorting and recursive algorithms. The technologically and artistically enhanced learning environment we present has also the potential to promote intercultural computer science education and the algorithmic thinking of both science- and humanities-oriented learners.
Physical computing covers the design and realization of interactive objects and installations and allows students to develop concrete, tangible products of the real world, which arise from the learners' imagination. This can be used in computer science education to provide students with interesting and motivating access to the different topic areas of the subject in constructionist and creative learning environments. To make many existing activities and examples of such project ideas available for classroom use and to expand the topic areas suitable for learning in such environments beyond introductory to programming, a physical computing syllabus for computer science courses in general education schools has been developed. In this paper the methods and different perspectives that were taken into account are presented. The resulting syllabus can be used to develop a constructionist computer science curriculum with physical computing.
User interface and data visualisation criteria are central issues in digital textbooks design. However, when applying mathematical modelling of learning process to the analysis of the possible solutions, it could be observed that results differ. Mathematical learning views cognition in on the base on statistics and probability theory, graph theory, game theory, cellular automata, neural networks etc. Instead of this, research methodologies in learning design are diversified in behaviourism, cognitive, constructivism and connexionism. Behaviourism aims to promote observable behavior, but placing the responsibility for learning on the shoulders of teachers and/or textbooks' content. The cognitive and social psychology adds value to the systems theory and place the responsibility to mental structures of students' cognitive systems. Constructivism aims to support multiple perspectives or interpretations of reality, knowledge construction, context-rich, experience-based activities and focused on didactic activities. The connectionism models are based on mental or behavioral phenomena as the emergent processes of interconnected networks of simple units. These trends could be analysed on the base on linear, systems and Meta-Systems approaches. This article is a review of user interface and data visualisation criteria as a demonstration of Meta-Systems Learning Design in Digital Textbooks use and development.
Games for learning are currently used in several disciplines for motivating students and enhancing their learning experience. This new approach of technology-enhanced learning has attracted researchers' and instructors' attention in the area of programming that is one of the most cognitively demanding fields in Computer Science. Several educational, or else serious, games for learning programming have been developed and the first results of their evaluation as a means of learning are quite positive. In this paper, we propose using arcade games as a means for learning programming. Based on this approach students first play a simple game, such as Snake or Tetris, study its code and then extend it. In a pilot study carried out in the context of an undergraduate programming course, students studied the source code of the well-known game Snake and extended it with new functionalities. The analysis of students' replies in a questionnaire showed that using arcade games as a means of learning programming concepts enhances students' motivation for learning programming, supports them in comprehending complex concepts and engages them in carrying out programming activities.
This paper proposes a student-oriented approach tailored to effective collaboration between students using mobile phones for language learning within the life cycle of an intelligent tutoring system. For this reason, in this research, a prototype mobile application has been developed for multiple language learning that incorporates intelligence in its modeling and diagnostic components. One of the primary aims of this research is the construction of student models which promote the misconception diagnosis. Furthermore, they are the key for collaboration, given that students can cooperate with their peers, discuss complex problems from various perspectives and use knowledge to answer questions and/or to solve problems. Summarizing, in this paper, a mobile tutoring framework, built up in the context of student collaboration, is presented. Collaborative student groups are created with respect to the corresponding user models. Finally, the prototype was evaluated and the results confirmed the usefulness of collaborative learning.
Scientific issues like the behavior of wild and domesticated animals can serve as a motivation to learn programming concepts. Instead of following a systematic introduction, the students directly dive into programming and start immediately with their projects. In this constructionist approach the educational challenge for the teacher is to provide suitable scaffolds like step-by-step instructions, architectural spike solutions, discovery questions, puzzles and role plays, which support individual and self-directed learning.
Research on the effectiveness of introductory programming environments often relies on post-test measures and attitudinal surveys to support its claims; but such instruments lack the ability to identify any explanatory mechanisms that can account for the results. This paper reports on a study designed to address this issue. Using Noss and Hoyles' constructs of webbing and situated abstractions, we analyze programming novices playing a program-to-play constructionist video game to identify how features of introductory programming languages, the environments in which they are situated, and the challenges learners work to accomplish, collectively affect novices' emerging understanding of programming concepts. Our analysis shows that novices develop the ability to use programming concepts by building on the suite of resources provided as they interact with the computational context of the learning environment. In taking this approach, we contribute to computer science education design literature by advancing our understanding of the relationship between rich, complex introductory programming environments and the learning experiences they promote.