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Student understanding of object-oriented programming as expressed in concept maps
University of Gävle, Department of Mathematics, Natural and Computer Sciences, Ämnesavdelningen för datavetenskap. (UpCERG)
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2008 (English)In: SIGCSE Bulletin inroads, ISSN 0097-8418, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 332-336Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this paper, we present the results of an experiment in which we sought to elicit students’ understanding of objectoriented (OO) concepts using concept maps. Our analysis confirmed earlier research indicating that students do not have a firm grasp on the distinction between “class” and “instance.” Unlike earlier research, we found that our students generally connect classes with both data and behavior. Students rarely included any mention of the hardware/software context of programs, their users, or their real-world domains. Students do mention inheritance, but not encapsulation or abstraction. And the picture they draw of OO is a static one: we found nothing that could be construed as referring to interaction among objects in a program. We then discuss the implications for teaching introductory OO programming.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 40, no 1, p. 332-336
Keywords [en]
CS1, object-oriented, empirical research, concept maps
National Category
Computer Sciences Didactics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-1566DOI: doi:10.1145/1352322.1352251ISI: 000265741800078OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-1566DiVA, id: diva2:118228
Note
The journal issue constitutes: SIGCSE '08 Proceedings of the 39th SIGCSE technical symposium on Computer science education. ISBN 978-1-59593-799-5 Available from: 2008-03-20 Created: 2008-03-20 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the Road to a Software Profession: Students' Experiences of Concepts and Thresholds
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the Road to a Software Profession: Students' Experiences of Concepts and Thresholds
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that there are gaps in knowledge between newly hired and experienced professionals and that some of these gaps are related to concepts, such as the concepts of object orientation. This problem, and the fact that most computer science majors want to work in the software industry, leads to questions regarding why these gaps exist and how students can be better prepared for their future careers. Against this background, this thesis addresses two theme-based perspectives that focus on students' views of concepts in Computer Science.

The first theme-based perspective investigated the existence of potential Threshold Concepts in Computer Science. Such concepts should be troublesome, transformative, irreversible, and integrative. Qualitative methods have been mainly used and empirical data have been collected through semi-structured interviews, concept maps, and written stories. The results identified two Threshold Concepts, suggested several more, and then described the ways in which these concepts have transformed students.

The second theme-based perspective took a phenomenographic approach to find the variation in how students understand concepts related to the software profession. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews. In one study the interviews were held in connection with role-playing where students took on the role of a newly hired programmer. The results show a variety of ways to experience the addressed phenomena in the student collective, ranging from superficial views that often have a practical nature to more sophisticated understandings that reflect a holistic approach, including a professional point of view.

Educators can use the results to emphasize concepts that are important from students' perspectives. The phenomenographic outcome spaces can help teachers to reflect upon their own ways of seeing contrasted with student conceptions. I have indicated how variation theory can be applied to open more sophisticated ways of seeing, which in this context stresses the professional aspects to help students prepare for becoming professional software developers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. p. 61
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 734
Keywords
Biographies, class diagram, computer science education, computer science education research, computing concepts, concept map, content analysis, higher education, java interface, learning, object orientation, phenomenography, programming, role-play, software development, software profession, threshold concepts, variation theory
National Category
Computer Sciences Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-10531 (URN)978-91-554-7789-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-06-04, Room 2446, Polacksbacken, Lägerhyddsvägen 2D, Uppsala, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
1) Forskningsämne: Datavetenskap med inriktning mot datavetenskapens didaktik 2) Boustedts forskning skedde vid Uppsala universitet, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Matematisk-datavetenskapliga sektionen, Institutionen för informationsteknologi, Avdelningen för teknisk databehandling) (Uppsala universitet, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Matematisk-datavetenskapliga sektionen, Institutionen för informationsteknologi, Numerisk analysAvailable from: 2011-09-29 Created: 2011-09-29 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved

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