NB: Unless otherwise indicated, all presentation sessions take place in the Murray Lecture Theatre, and all refreshments will be served in the Murray Foyer.
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Day 1: Tuesday 28th August 2007
Pre-conference Workshops (2 Hours)
09.30 - 10.30
Abstract: "The aim of this workshop will be to share information on the practical issues of design for all content and teaching methods. The session will be run by members of the UK European Design for All eAccessibility Network (EDeAN), of which Middlesex University is the National Contact Centre."
Abstract: "This workshop will explore the research-teaching nexus as this is understood and put into practice by academics and practitioners in Information and Computer Science departments. This will be an interactive session during which the participants' views and experiences will be sought. The nature of the research-teaching nexus as well as how this is supported and encouraged in different institutions will be examined. The aim of this workshop is to identify conceptions and current policies in Information and Computer Science departments in UK institutions (but not exclusively) and to encourage participants to think about their current practices and how they can encourage the nexus."
Abstract: "The School of Computing and The ExPERT Centre CETL at the University of Portsmouth are co-operating on an investigation into the strengths and weaknesses of Virtual World simulations to support academic teaching/student learning and provide guidelines for their use within a HE setting. In particular the work focuses on an investigation into the affordances of Virtual World simulations and the ways in which they might be used both to improve the teaching of transferable and professional skills and to enhance the student experience for those students working at a distance."
Abstract: "A major contributory risk in the development, implementation and operation of information systems is the failure to address social factors, especially ethical issues. The aim of the proposed workshop is an attempt to address and raise awareness of the teaching of professional issues in the computing curriculum using the Culturally Negotiated Ethical Triangle."
Biography: "Wendy Hall is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and is currently the Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS). She was the founding Head of the Intelligence, Agents, Multimedia (IAM) Research Group in ECS. She has published over 350 papers in areas such as hypermedia, multimedia, digital libraries, and Web technologies.
She is currently senior Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Vice President of the ACM and is a Past President of the British Computer Society (2003-2004). She is a member of the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology, a member of the Executive Committee of UKCRC, and Chair of the new BCS Women's Forum. She is the Chair of the Advisory Board of the new Company, Garlik Limited, and is a founding member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council.
She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birth da y honours list in 2000, and became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the same year. She was recently awarded the 2006 Anita Borg Award for Technical Leadership."
Abstract: "Coming Soon"
Session D1S1 - Beginnings (Total: 75 Minutes)
Session Chair - Tony Jenkins
Abstract: "This paper reports on the findings of a survey of over 500 students undertaken at the beginning of their undergraduate computing courses. The aim of the survey was to explore personal and contextual factors affecting student choice in computing and the expectations held by students at the outset of their studies. Recent work has explored pre-entry perceptions of computing and has helped to build a profile of the different types of student entering computing courses. This paper extends such work, supporting earlier findings in relation to why students choose computing, gender differences, and perceptions of the discipline. It also offers new insights regarding the role of pre-entry qualifications in preparing students for further study, the factors which motivate students to choose computing, and the self-confidence of students as they embark on their studies."
Abstract: "Focusing on a new Professional Development module, this paper will consider how the process of engagement can be used to enculturate, empower and educate the first year student. The module takes an innovative approach in content, delivery and assessment utilising a range of technology-assisted solutions. Blended learning in concept, the module is paperless and managed using WebCT. Traditional face-to-face learning experiences are augmented with online tutorials. Class discussion is successfully facilitated by way of online forum and personal voting system.Success has been measured by enhanced engagement exemplified by a range of social activities, a new student society, and a new elective module all initiated by the students during their first five weeks. This paper will discuss developments to the curriculum, underpinned by research and literature review that have been introduced to better engage the students and further enhance the overall learning experience."
Abstract: "Common room debate often comments on what the students want or what the students think. Each student will briefly introduce themselves explaining what they are studying; why they chose their subject; what’s best and what changes they would like to see in the future in our curriculum."
Day 2: Wednesday 29th August 2007
Session D2S1 - Transition into HE (Total: 85 Minutes)
Abstract: "In the context of declining undergraduate numbers in ICS subjects, the Tools for Education (TfE) project is mechanism for allowing teachers and pupils to gain access to experienced undergraduates. This paper contrasts TfE against 'X into schools' types of module in order to justify its design. Results are presented of the project so far, along with a number of recommendations."
Abstract: "In this paper, we discuss the use of a kind of videoconferencing technology generally referred to as an "Access Grid" to connect universities with local schools and colleges. We report on successful trials of the Open Source form of this videoconferencing technology that are part of the "Taking Computing back to school" project due to be completed in July. The project is part-sponsored by both the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences, and the University of Surrey's Widening Participation initiative. We identify the importance of improving engagement with the computing curriculum to avert a potential skills crisis in the IT industry and discuss the technology, the challenges of deployment and testing, and some of the early successes."
Abstract: "In recent years, the numbers of students applying for undergraduate courses in ICT/Computing have continued to fall . This is a national trend and is a matter of concern for Higher Education (HE) Institutions. Another matter of concern is the retention rate of first-year Computing students . Research has shown that one of the reasons why students drop out in the first year is the wrong choice of course. One of the contributing factors is misinformed preconceptions about what Computing courses entail . It is important, therefore, that an understanding is gained of pupils' perception of Computing courses in HE in order to provide targeted information to attract and retain the right pupils onto these courses. This research investigates the perceptions and expectations held by potential students about ICT/Computing courses in HE and how the expectations of existing students have been met. This will inform the development of an action plan for the Department of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Glamorgan."
Abstract: "The growth of Foundation Degree qualifications in the UK (HEFCE, 2007) has led to a more active view of employer engagement with Higher Education. Many full time Foundation Degree students are now taking up work placements with employers as part of their study. As a result, a three-way conversation between learners, employers and tutors needs to take place on an ongoing basis throughout placements. An online environment utilising blogs, e-portfolio and online work-based contracts can facilitate this ‘conversation'. This paper reports on an HE Academy, ICS funded mini-project to create such an environment at Hull College for students on the Foundation Degree course in Software Design and Development. The project has just completed its year-long span. The environment has been chosen, developed and tested over the first semester, and then used and evaluated for work-placement study in the second semester. This paper outlines the use of Elgg as a means of maintaining communication with students, employers and tutors and encouraging reflection during Foundation Degree work placements. I will present an account of the experience of using the online environment at the 8 th Annual Conference of the ICS HE Academy in August."
Abstract: "This paper compares the findings of a literature search on the use of ICT in teaching (Scrimshaw, P. (2004); Becta (2004)) with a recent survey amongst college lecturers in a medium sized North East Further Education College. It summarises teachers' perceptions of their current stage of development in making effective use of ICT The review proposes an alternative strategy for ICT integration using desktop devices to enhance the use of ICT as a pervasive resource. Social software offers the opportunity for teaching staff to grasp the emerging technologies and create a much more exciting interactive learning world."
Session D2S2 - First Year Experiences (Total: 95 Minutes)
Session Chair - Janet Carter
Abstract: "This paper describes an initiative within the Business Information Technology (BIT) and Computing programmes at London South Bank University (LSBU) to plug the first year gap. This gap, occurring between the start of the mid-winter break and the start of the second semester, can last as long as six weeks. It has been recognised as contributing to student drop out and has other negative effects. By plugging part of the gap students and staff have reported positive outcomes."
Abstract: "In this paper, we present a novel approach to supporting first year computing students by exploiting widespread ownership of Bluetooth enabled mobile phones. The combined software and hardware solution described allows delivery of information with low set-up costs and zero transmission overhead. We show how this system can be used to provide different types and formats of information, from basic textual information such as timetabling alerts and reminders, to richer content like presentations, audio and video files. We then go on to provide examples of the system in practice, including its application to other disciplines. Finally we look at future developments."
Abstract: "The difficulties that students have acquiring programming skills are compounded when they enter a course of study with little confidence in their own ability to use symbolic reasoning. The idea, therefore, that programming should be understood primarily as an algorithmic process often produces severe anxiety and a consequent rapid disengagement with the subject. The recent development of visual programming environments has led to the claim that this algorithmic metaphor can be replaced, at least initially, by one that draws on a correspondence between programming and storytelling. It is claimed that this allows more productive scaffolding to occur around students' prior experience and consequently that anxiety is reduced and learning is enhanced. This paper investigates such a claim in the context of an introductory programming module taught to first year Computing undergraduates at the Robert Gordon University . It also examines the problem of transition to more conventional code-based environments."
Abstract: "A Free Programming Project (FPP) is a programming task chosen at will by a student. Whilst various forms of this style of project are common in the later stages of nearly all degree programmes, they are seldom seen in first year courses. This paper explores ideas of increased ownership and engagement, as well as opportunities for consolidation, as motivators for using such projects in first year. The structure and operation of two independent applications of the FPP concept in first programming courses are contrasted and evaluated, and the following key aspects are identified: managing expectations, choosing the right project, design issues, appropriate feedback, credit rating for the project, and inverted expectations of learning among students."
Biography: "Nigel Ford is Professor of Information Science at the University of Sheffield's Department of Information Studies. He has researched and published extensively in the fields of human individual differences (with particular emphasis on cognitive and learning styles), teaching and learning, information seeking and educational informatics. He has directed funded research projects into areas including the information seeking amongst university students and researchers, promotion of Web-based information literacy in schools, and the development of cognitive models to support adaptive teaching/learning systems. He is currently directing a project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council to develop understanding of Web searching by the general public. He has published extensively in international refereed journals in education and information science, and has written 5 books on aspects of artificial intelligence, and educational informatics."
Abstract: "This session will discuss some emerging technologies and trends in educational informatics of relevance to computing and information sciences, and their implications for helping us to enhance the effectiveness of learning - or not, depending on your point of view. Tensions between such points of view relating to a range of pedagogic issues including assessment, teaching and research, creativity and constraint, will be explored."
Session D2S3a - Issues in Research (Total: 40 Minutes)
Session Chair - Su White
Session D2S4 - Issues in Programming (Total: 100 Minutes)
Abstract: "This paper looks at the experience of teaching on a module where problem-solving is taught first, then programming. The main tools for the problem-solving part, alongside two problem-solving approaches, are tasks based on using Mindstorm (LEGO, Denmark) robot kits. This is being done as a foundation step before the syntax of a language (Java) is taught. Results of student evaluation will be presented."
Abstract: "It would be unlikely for any first year programming class to be solely composed of novices. We all have students with a range of abilities, and this generates challenges as to the best way in which to manage and teach the class. The students at the top need to be enthused whilst we provide extra help to the students at the bottom, and try not to demotivate the ones in the middle. This paper reports the outcome of a project aimed at enthusing the better programmers within the first year of a Computing degree programme. The activity and judging process have been designed to retain student motivation and to value the integration of professional and technical skills. Students and academics have evaluated the process. Student achievements have been enhanced and the approach is seen as a useful addition to existing teaching methods."
Abstract: "The paper studies the use the RentACoder Web site to contract cheat by Computing students. RentACoder is an outsourcing service for computer work which operates under auction principles. Contract cheating is where students have assessed work completed for them on their behalf. The work is original, so not will be detected by the regular anti-plagiarism mechanisms that look for shared commonality. The paper describes the background to contract cheating and discusses a catalogue of 910 bid requests collected by the authors over two and a half years. The UK is seen to supply them with over 25% of contract cheating bid requests. This is largely composed of students outsourcing Java programming assignments; substantial projects are highlighted as a concern. Trends are seen to exist for other countries but are not the same as those identified for UK students."
Abstract: "The core Internet protocols form a fundamental component of the modern world and it is incumbent on Computer Science and Information Technology curricula to teach them. Yet there are significant barriers which make it difficult for a student to engage realistically with these protocols. These can be categorised as barriers of time, space and access. From the perspective of time, many of the interactions occur at timescales that are outside of the range of human perception; from the perspective of space, a student will be situated in one location which will often define their view of the network; from the perspective of access, interaction with network protocols is mediated through libraries provided by operating systems which in turn require the low level use of programming languages. Overlay networks such as PlanetLab have been advocated as a way of allowing "disruptive" technologies to be experimented with, deployed and developed thereby helping prevent the potential ossification of network protocols. This paper demonstrates how PlanetLab can be exploited within an educational context to overcome the barriers to active learning about computer network protocols."
Day 3: Thursday 30th August 2007
Parallel Session D3S1a - Issues in Technologies and Learning Objects (Total: 70 Minutes)
Abstract: "Learning objects are widely available on the Internet and easily discoverable in web searches. They are designed to be reusable in different contexts, with consequent advantages for teaching and learning, but there are a number of problems associated with their reuse. These are mainly regarded as pedagogical but it appears from the present work that there are also some problems with motivation. The paper develops a theory of object pedagogy and adapts a motivational teaching model to the software learning environment. It goes on to describe how these principles were applied in a project to develop tutorial learning objects for an undergraduate course on programming. The tutorials were made available online to tutors and students and the resulting feedback was evaluated in terms of both the pedagogy and the motivational factors."
Abstract: "Reusing existing web resources for e-learning has received increasing attention in the field of web-based education, especially because developing learning contents from scratch can be very expensive and time consuming. Knowledge engineering and the Semantic Web are very promising technologies for reusing and personalising learning resources in intelligent or adaptive systems. However, methodologies with reasonable cost and feasibility are still in need. In this paper we propose an e-learning system based on the Semantic Web technologies. The system we are developing illustrates how the key features of e-learning like reusability, personalisation and adaptivity can be enhanced using the Semantic Web."
Abstract: "In this paper, we provide technical experience with developing mobile learning material, its distribution via a web site and an initial evaluation of the uptake of the approach in a final year computing module. Audio objects were tailored to meet different pedagogical needs resulting in a repository of persistent glossary terms and disposable audio lectures distributed by podcasting. An aim of our approach is to document the interest from the students, and evaluate the potential of mlearning for supplementing revision."
Parallel Session D3S1b - Challenges in Teaching (Total: 80 Minutes)
Abstract: "This paper reports on the findings of a study on improving interaction design for visually impaired students."
Abstract: "In this paper, the author will focus on the particular pedagogic challenges, issues and opportunities associated with the teaching of computer ethics to computer forensics students in a Higher Education environment. It should be noted that while there are particular challenges with the teaching of computer forensics, a number of the issues raised in the paper are applicable to the teaching of other computing and computer science disciplines. By addressing the pedagogic challenges in teaching computer ethics to computer forensics students the author will demonstrate the benefits to learning of contextualising various fundamental ethical principles that underpin all computing disciplines. The author attempts to measure the impact of teaching computer ethics to computer forensics students by use of an "ethics awareness index" and by analysis of summative assessment on computer ethics in commuter forensics."
Abstract: "In this paper, we describe the introduction of a wiki for collaborative activities in a Requirements Engineering course offered at a distance to part-time learners. The paper describes the course and how wiki activities were incorporated. The paper then discusses the initial feedback from the students which shows that the wiki has been largely effective for developing students' understanding of the course concepts, the effectiveness of team working in Requirements Engineering and the use of wikis in practice. However, there are particular issues related to asynchronous working in distance education/eLearning that need to be better addressed. We conclude with a discussion of how we are tackling these issues and developing the use of the wiki on the course based on the students' feedback."
Abstract: "This paper issues in teaching fundamental IT skills within computer science degree programmes, including some of the features unusual to the subject of computing. The paper also considers practical issues including the use of appropriate technologies to help:
Session D3S2 - Issues in Assessment (Total: 40 Minutes)