Working Groups

We have four working groups at the conference this year.

The groups of 5 to 10 participants work electronically prior to commencement of the conference and start face to face work in Canterbury at 9am on Saturday 29 June. Group members are expected to work together for the whole of Saturday and Sunday, but are able to attend some conference sessions and a Tuesday afternoon excursion if they wish. Participants must register for, and be present at, the conference to be considered a contributor towards the final report.

Closing date for membership applications was Sunday 31 March 2013.

Group 1: User Requirements and Design Strategies for Open Source Interactive Computer Science eBooks

Leaders: Ari Korhonen and Thomas L. Naps

Potential models for delivering interactive online CS courses include MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), Khan Academy micro-lectures with integrated exercises, the OpenDSA (Open Data Structures and Algorithms) initiative, and a variety of eBook formats aimed at dedicated eBook reading devices. Each might provide a part of the final answer, but collectively online educational courseware for Computer Science remains at the prototypical stage, awaiting feedback from stakeholders in the Computer Science educational community as to how to best use such technologies. Stakeholders include content contributors, educational software developers, instructors, and students. This working group will attempt to identify the needs of the various groups and refine those needs into a detailed set of requirements that can guide the development, deployment, and consequent use of online educational resources that meet the specific needs of Computer Science education.

Group 2: The McCracken study – 12 years on

Leader: Ian Utting

In 2001, an ITiCSE working group led by Mike McCracken met in Canterbury to analyze a study of novice programmers at institutions around the world. The working group produced the second most highly cited paper in SIGCSE's publication history, but had two more significant outcomes: It revealed that CS1 students were less proficient at programming than anyone, including their teachers, thought they were; and it set the scene for a number of other medium-to-large scale multi-national multi-institutional studies of beginning students. Despite this, and an explicit exhortation in the original paper, there has been very little effort since directed at replicating or extending the work of this original group.

This working group proposes:

  • To critically revisit the original McCracken study,
  • to partially replicate their experiment, and
  • to analyze and reflect on the results to determine the extent to which the conclusions drawn by that group are still valid despite the changes in CS1 teaching and students over the intervening years.

The proposers of the new group are all members of the original group.

Participants in the group will be expected to administer a practical programming task among a group of students at their own institution who are at the point of "first competence" in programming; the point at which they might develop a complete small program from a natural language specification.