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Active Learning With Upper Division Computer Science Students

By Brenda Timmerman, Robert Lingard and G. Michael Barnes


Computer Science students especially upper division students are stereotypically considered to be introverted and therefore poor candidates for an Active Learning curriculum. Ironically, the requirements of their field demand skills in critical analysis and evaluation, as well as communication and collaboration skills, that are not easily acquired in the traditional classroom environment with a "lecture" agenda where students maintain a basically passive role. This paper describes experiments with Active Learning techniques performed in two different upper division Computer Science classes, "Societal Issues in Computing" and "Computer System Security". In spite of the traditional views of Computer Science as an individualistic subject matter with self-centered non-social students, the authors have used Active Learning techniques in their classrooms for several semesters with encouraging results. In addition to an improved attitude and stated increased satisfaction, students' test results showed increased comprehension and improved critical reasoning abilities

Year: 2003
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