Computer programming, the art of actually instructing a computer to do what one wants, is fundamentally a practical skill. How does one teach this practical skill in a university setting, to students who may not be initially motivated to acquire it, and who may have a variety of past experience, or none at all? Furthermore, how does one do it in a resource-efficient way to large classes? Students are largely motivated by assessment: what is the best way to assess this skill? How does this skill relate to more abstract concepts like “computational thinking”? In this piece NTFs from very different universities explain their solutions.
Professor James Davenport is a member of both the Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science departments at Bath: when the two split, it was impossible to decide which one he belonged to, and this interdisciplinary theme runs throughout his career.
Dr Tom Crick is Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Computing & Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University, having completed his PhD and post-doctoral research at the University of Bath. His underlying philosophy of scholarship is simple: to be a transformational computer science academic.
Alan Hayes is the Director of Teaching in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath.