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  • 1.
    McCartney, Robert
    et al.
    Computer Science and Engineering Department, University of Connecticut,, Storrs, CT, United States .
    Boustedt, Jonas
    University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Computer science.
    Eckerdal, Anna
    Information Technology, Department of Scientific Computing, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden .
    Sanders, Kate
    Mathematics and Computer Science, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI, United States .
    Thomas, Lynda
    Department of Computer Science, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, United Kingdom .
    Zander, Carol
    Computing and Software Systems, University of Washington Bothell, Bothell, WA, United States .
    Why computing students learn on their own: motivation for self-directed learning of computing2016In: ACM Transactions on Computing Education, ISSN 1946-6226, E-ISSN 1946-6226, Vol. 16, no 1, p. 2:1-2:18, article id 2Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this article, we address the question of why computing students choose to learn computing topics on their own. A better understanding of why some students choose to learn on their own may help us to motivate other students to develop this important skill. In addition, it may help in curriculum design; if we need to leave some topics out of our expanding curriculum, a good choice might be those topics that students readily learn on their own.

    Based on a thematic analysis of 17 semistructured interviews, we found that computing students’ motivations for self-directed learning fall into four general themes: projects, social and peer interactions, joy of learning, and fear. Under these, we describe several more specific subthemes, illustrated in the words of the students.

    The project-related and social motivations are quite prominent. Although these motivations appear in theliterature, they received greater emphasis from our interviewees. Perhaps most characteristic of computingis the motivation to learn to complete some project, both projects done for fun and projects required for schoolor work.

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