Is it Visual? The importance of a Problem Solving Module within a Computing courseKumuditha Achini Kariyawasam, Scott Turner, Gary HillSchool of Science and Technology, University ofNorthampton
• Student’s views on a module that focuses initial programming education on problem-solving, then later syntax and software design methodology.• The main vehicle for this is simple Lego based robots programmed in Java for computing students.
Methodology Twist• It is was an undergraduate student who: – Devised the questions – Collected the data – Contributed to the analysis• Undergraduate student working on a pedagogic research project.
• The target student group was BSc Computing and HND Computing: – Year 1: Questions were not asked about their pathway. – Year 2: Questions asked to different pathway students, – Year 3: Questions again asked to a variety of pathway students
Example Responses• “The visual nature helped to identify errors in the programming logic and made it easier to rectify any errors made.”• “It helps me think through a problem if I can visualise it.”• “…it takes the concept of problem solving and places it into a physical and tangible domain…”• “It’s a gentle introduction to the problem solving concept and how it applies to the course and modules later…”• “It’s easier to understand something if you can touch it and try it in real life, rather than seeing it on a screen.”
Conclusion• There appears to be a perceived increase in the positive impact of using robots reported by second and third year students, which seems to indicate that the visual and physical nature of using robots is liked and ultimately appreciated by the students.
Conclusion• “Not enough resources to go round – e.g. robots” (Second Year Student).
Complementary activity• Greenfoot that compliments the robots, but can be run on all computers in the labs and at home.