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6. Eighth Workshop on Pedagogies and Tools for the Teaching and Learning of Object Oriented Concepts

Categories: 2004.02.25:6 -- Permalink, Comment form


I wish I could do research like this...

Successfully applying object-oriented techniques requires a thorough understanding of basic object-oriented concepts. However, teaching and learning these concepts have proven to be very difficult in the past.

Using traditional programming languages, concepts could be introduced step by step. Abstract and advanced concepts, like for example modules and abstract data types could be handled as an afterthought. In the object-oriented paradigm, the basic concepts are tightly interrelated and cannot easily be taught and learned in isolation, making these tasks much more challenging.

Switching to object-oriented development is not just a matter of programming languages. Focusing on the notational details of a certain language prevents students from grasping the "big picture". Many traditional examples are furthermore not very suitable for the teaching and learning of object-oriented concepts. Many popular examples (like for example 'Hello World') actually contradict the rules, guidelines and styles we want to instil in our students.

Educators must therefore be very careful when selecting/developing examples and metaphors. Rules and misconceptions that students develop based on doubtful examples will stand in the way of teachers and learners as well.

This is the eighth in a series of workshops on issues in object-oriented teaching and learning. Previous workshops were held at OOPSLA'97, ECOOP'98, OOPSLA'99, ECOOP'00, OOPSLA'01, ECOOP'02 and ECOOP'03.


We solicit contributions describing experiences, ideas and resources to support the teaching and learning of basic object- oriented concepts. We especially welcome submissions on the topics listed below, but will consider other topics as well:

  • successfully used examples and metaphors;
  • approaches and tools for teaching (basic) object-oriented concepts;
  • approaches and tools for teaching analysis and design;
  • ordering of topics, in particular when to teach analysis and design;
  • experiences with innovative CS1 curricula and didactic techniques;
  • learning theories and pedagogical approaches / methods;
  • representation of learning resources;
  • distance education / net-based learning;
  • collaborative learning;
  • guiding the learners;
  • learners' view(s) on object technology education;
  • development of the learner's competence;


This workshop will bring together educators, researchers, and practitioners from academia and industry to share and discuss experiences, ideas and resources to support the teaching and learning of object-orientation. We also want to encourage trainees or students to report experiences from the learners' point of view.

People from other areas than computer science or educational research in general are also welcome, but they should clearly state how their work can be applied to the learning and teaching of object technology.

Attendance to the workshop is limited. Participation will be by invitation only, based on the organizing committee's evaluation of a position paper. The submission should be accompanied by the author(s)' main message and a desired topic for working group discussions.

Contributions should not exceed 8 pages in length and be sent to J=FCrgen B=F6rstler (jubo@cs.umu.se) no later than April 5. We would prefer PDF format, but will also accept Postscript, Word, or HTML files.

Each submission should be accompanied by (1) a short biography of the author(s); (2) the author(s)' main message/position; and (3) a desired topic for working group discussions.

Position paper due:April 5
Notification of acceptance:April 26
Deadline for early registration:May 7
Workshop:June 14 or 15

E-Mail from JXrgen BXrstler

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5. CleverCS

Categories: 2004.02.06:2 -- Permalink, Comment form

From Amir on Orkut:

CleverCS is a forum for clever computer science ideas, particularly in more applied areas. The emphasis is on ideas that most people would understand without much technical expertise in the area. The ideas may come from recent publications or may merely be speculative discussions on possibly interesting new research directions.

The url is:



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4. Gerald Generoso's reflections on being on the other side

Categories: 2004.01.19:3 -- Permalink, Comment form

Gerald Generoso wrote about the challenges he faced learning how to program. Read his insightful reflections at ../research/ed/diary_of_a_madman.pdf .

E-Mail from Gerald R. Generoso

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3. Code Reading: The Open Source Perspective

Categories: 2004.01.02:6 -- Permalink, Comment form

Playing on my strengths as all-around puzzler-out of weird software, perhaps I should explore software archaeology and code reading a bit more. The http://www.spinellis.gr/codereading/index.html looks like exactly my kind of book, and I think it's worth getting. I will need to save up for it, though. Addison Wesley, 2003. ISBN 0-201-79940-5.



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2. Paper: Problem-based learning for foundation computer science courses

Categories: 2004.01.01:12 -- Permalink, Comment form


The foundation courses in computer science pose particular challenges for teacher and learner alike. This paper describes some of these challenges and how we have designed problem-based learning (PBL) courses to address them. We discuss the particular problems we were keen to overcome: the purely technical focus of many courses; the problems of individual learning and the need to establish foundations in a range of areas which are important for computer science graduates. We then outline our course design, showing how we have created problem-based learning courses.

The paper reports our evaluation of the approach. This has two parts: assessment of a trial, with a three-year longitudinal follow-up of the students; reports of student learning improve-ment after we had become experienced in full implementation of PBL.

We conclude with a summary of our experience over three years of PBL teaching and discuss some of the pragmatic issues around introducing the radical change in teaching, maintaining staff support, and continuing refinement of our PBL teaching. We also discuss some of our approaches to the commonly acknowledged challenges of PBL teaching.

Hmmm. Problem-based learning is about working on large, real-world problems, not just the toy exercises we do in class. Must check out footnote 4. Teacher as facilitator - precisely! I like the focus on problem-solving skills. Hey, they use Blue too. I so agree with these objectives. I like how the students plan their study and choose the exercises. I want to learn how to do research like this.

Footnote 4: D. Boud and G. Feletti. The Challenge of Problem Based Learning. Kogan Page, 1991.


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1. SIGCSE: The first stop for computer science education research

Categories: 2004.01.01:3 -- Permalink, Comment form


SIGCSE is the special interest group for computer science education in the Association for Computing Machinery. It regularly organizes conferences and the proceedings are available in the digital library. Be sure to check out their extensive link collection!


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