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).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3294016.3294024


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.

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