The Open UniversitySkip to content

Learning to program: from problems to code

Piwek, Paul; Wermelinger, Michel; Laney, Robin and Walker, Richard (2019). Learning to program: from problems to code. In: Third Conference in Computing Education Practice (CEP), 9 Jan 2019, Durham, UK, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (500kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper introduces the approach to teaching problem-solving and text-based programming that has been adopted in a large, post-18, undergraduate, key introductory module (L4 FHEQ) on Computing and Information Technology at the Open University (UK). We describe how students are equipped with programming, but foremost problem-solving skills. Key ingredients of the approach are interleaving of skills, explicit worked examples of decomposition, formulation of algorithms (with the help of patterns for recurring problems) and translation to code. Preliminary results are encouraging: students’ average course work scores increase as they progress through the course.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 ACM
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Institute of CodingNot SetOffice for Students
Keywords: Problem solving, Python, programming, patterns, algorithms, problem decomposition, Education, Distance Learning, E-Learning
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Item ID: 58202
Depositing User: Paul Piwek
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2018 16:24
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 15:50
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU