[publication] Bridging the Gap: A Computer Science Pre-MOOC for First Semester Students #imoox #mooc #research #tugraz

We did a short publication about „Bridging the Gap: A Computer Science Pre-MOOC for First Semester Students“ and it was published now in the Electronic Journal of e-Learning.

Abstract:
Knowledge in Computer Science (CS) is essential, and companies have increased their demands for CS professionals. Despite this, many jobs remain vacant. Furthermore, computational thinking (CT) skills are required in all contexts of problem solving. A further serious problem arises from the gender disparity in technology related fields. Even if tech companies want to hire women in technology, the number of women who enter these fields is remarkably low. In high schools with no technical focus, most teenagers acquire only low‑level skills in CS. The consequences are misleading preconceptions about the fundamental ideas of CS and stereotype‑based expectations. Consequently, many teenagers exclude computing from their career path. In this paper, two promising concepts to overcome these challenges are presented. In 2018, a voluntary gamified lecture “Design your own app”, held at the University of Graz for students of all degree programs, was introduced. The course attracted over 200 students and received positive evaluations. This led to the second concept. In January 2019, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with the title “Get FIT in Computer Science” was designed and launched in August 2019 on the platform iMooX.at with the goal to provide a basic introduction to different concepts of CS, including programming and the application of game design strategies. The MOOC was accompanied by an offline lecture, following the principles of flipped classroom and inverse blended learning. For evaluation purposes, we collected data at three stages: 1) during the MOOC, 2) during the offline lecture, and 3) two months after the lecture. The results showed that the MOOC framework was a promising approach to support and motivate at least a certain group of first‑semester students, especially those who had no prior knowledge in CS.

Abstract of the article

[Full article @ ResearchGate]
[Full article @ Journal’s homepage]

Reference: Spieler, B., Grandl, M., Ebner, M., Slany, W. (2020) Bridging the Gap: A Computer Science Pre-MOOC for First Semester Students. In: Electronic Journal of e-Learning. 18 (3). pp. 248-260

[publication] Practitioner Integration in Computational Thinking Education #edil20 #CT #tugraz

At this year EDMedia conference (online) we did a publication about „Practitioner Integration in Computational Thinking Education“.

Abstract:
This pilot study implemented an expert driven participatory workshop in a rural Austrian economic school. An action research approach was utilised to introduce the problem solving method named computational thinking (CT) to students aged 16 to 18 (K-12) in five after school workshop sessions. This research revealed the basic benefits of industry expert integration in a classroom setting with the aim to develop sustainable interdisciplinary interfaces that allow schools and individual teachers to independently showcase possible pathways. Drawbacks of the methods were identified, for example the high overhead efforts currently required without interfaces between practitioners and educators in place or the demanding time requirements. To create a strong, inclusive path to CT education for all young minds, these challenges need to be addressed and ultimately overcome with the support of all involved stakeholders.

[Draft @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Pollak, M. & Ebner, M. (2020). Practitioner Integration in Computational Thinking Education. In Proceedings of EdMedia + Innovate Learning (pp. 570-580). Online, The Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved July 14, 2020 from https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/217354/.

[publication] „Computer Science for all“: Concepts to engage teenagers and non-CS students in technology #research #tugraz

Our conference contribution to this year 13th European Conference on Games Based Learning about „„Computer Science for all“: Concepts to engage teenagers and non-CS students in technology“ is now online available – enjoy reading 🙂

Abstract:

Knowledge in Computer Science (CS) is essential, and companies have increased their demands for CS professionals. Despite this, many jobs remain unfilled. Furthermore, employees with computational thinking (CT) skills are required, even if they are not actual technicians. Moreover, the gender disparity in technology related fields is a serious problem. Even if companies want to hire women in technology, the number of women who enter these fields is remarkably low. In high schools, most teenagers acquire only low-level skills in CS. Thus, they may never understand the fundamental concepts of CS, have unrealistic expectations or preconceptions, and are influenced by stereotype-based expectations. Consequently, many teenagers exclude computing as a career path. In this research study, we present two promising concepts to overcome these challenges. First, we consider alternative paths to enter the field of CS. In 2018, a voluntary lecture „Design your own app“ at the University of Graz for students of all degree programs was introduced. In total, 202 students participated. We applied a Game Development-Based Learning (GDBL) approach with the visual coding tool Pocket Code, a mobile app developed at Graz University of Technology. The students were supposed to create simple games directly on smartphones. The course received positive evaluations and led to our second concept; In January 2019, we started to design a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with the title „Get FIT in Computer Science“. First, this course can be used to encourage young women who have little to no previous knowledge in CS. Second, it should help all teenagers to get a more realistic picture of CS to its basic concepts. Third, teachers can use the course materials to lead high school classes (Open Educational Resources). Finally, the MOOC can be accessed by everyone interested in this topic.

[Article @ ResearchGate]

Reference: Spieler, B., Grandl, M., Ebner, M., Slany, W. (2019) „Computer Science for all“: Concepts to engage teenagers and non-CS students in technology. In: Conference Proceedings ECGBL 2019, Odense, Denmark

Center for Research in Computer Science on Teaching and Learning

Due to our strong research in technology enhanced learning and beyond at Graz University of Technology the „Center for Research in Computer Science on Teaching and Learning (CCSTL)“ has been founded. Here all activities in the area of computer science in relation to teaching and learning are listed as well as all groups working on it.
My contribution is mainly to the „e-Learning Software Development Group“ which follows the idea to develop software, bring it to the learner, gather experiences and redevelop according to their needs.

The group concentrates its research activity on

  • Novel architectural and technological solutions for e-Learning such as Ajax, Reverse Ajax, Cloud Computing, Web Services, Content Delivery, WEB API and similar.
  • Educational content authoring, structuring and reusing such as eBooks, Semantic & Logical Hypermedia Composites, SCORM, etc.
  • New eLearning scenarios such as Life Long Learning, MOOCs and training on the working place.