Monday, 27 November 2017

What do students thinks of exam?

Ajit, S. (2017) Exam as an assessment instrument in computer programming courses: student perceptions. Poster presented to: 6th International Assessment in Higher Education Conference (AHE 2017), Manchester, United Kingdom, 28-29 June 2017.



Abstract
Assessment can take many forms, and it can be argued that the greater the diversity in the methods of assessment, the fairer, assessment is to students (Race 2007). The most effective form of assessment is one that appropriately examines the learning outcomes of the module. Assessment methods are also known to play an important role in how students learn (Brown 2004). The traditional assessment approach, in which one single written examination counts towards a student's total score, no longer meets new demands of programming language education (Wang, Li et al. 2012). Students tend to gain higher marks from coursework assignments than they do from examinations (Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). Students consider coursework to be fairer than exams, to measure a greater range of abilities than exams and to allow students to organize their own work patterns to a greater extent (Kniveton, 1996, cited in Gibbs and Simpson, 2004). Do students really hate exams? Are exams ineffective as an assessment approach in computer programming courses? A university wide research survey regarding assessment approaches in computer programming was conducted among students of undergraduate computing courses (including all three levels). 167 students participated in the survey. The author discusses some interesting results obtained from the survey. More than 50% of the students surveyed indicated that they would like examination to be a part of the assessment approach. The author explores possible reasons for this choice by students and compares these results with that of research conducted in other subject areas.







All views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Science and Technology Free Open Educational Resources

In previous posts the availability on the JISC Jorum repository of six Open Education Resources (OERs) from the former School of Science and Technology (now part of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology) at the University of Northampton was discussed. After 13 years the Jorum repository was discontinued.

Three of the OERs though were migrated across to the JISC Apps and resource store and available for reuse.

1. C Programming


Now available at https://store.jisc.ac.uk/#/resource/8395.


















2. Summary of Evolutionary Algorithms


Now available at https://store.jisc.ac.uk/#/resource/8405























3. Properties of Ultrasonic Waves



Now available at https://store.jisc.ac.uk/#/resource/8232 













All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruonAll views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Teaching Neural Networks using Excel and Scratch

Originally from https://computingnorthampton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/experiments-in-teaching-neural-networks.html

Excel Based







Scratch-based
More details available at https://computingnorthampton.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/miniproject-using-scratch-to-build-and.html including links to the code.

 All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruonAll views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Teaching Genetic Algorithms with Excel


In a previous post I discussed using Scratch and Excel to model neurones. This post looks at using Excel and six-sided dice as a way of developing insights into how  Genetic Algorithm work, before going on to program one. 

A very simplified version of Tournament Selection is used for the parent selection and the mutation works by rolling a die to get a number between 1-6.

The problem to be solved is to find the lowest values for x and y in the equation 
(x-6)*(x-6)+(y-1)*(y-1).






Routine


  1. Using an Excel spreadsheet,  roll two dice six times. Fill in the first two columns with these numbers - these are X and Y values for each solution.
  2. The fitness scores should be calculated based on the equation. Low values for this problem are best.
  3. 1st Parent: Roll two dice, if the numbers are same reroll one die to until the numbers are different. Use the two values to select the 1st parent, the solution with the lowest fitness of the two. Take the X part of the selected parent and it forms the X part of the new child solutions.
  4. 2nd Parent: Roll two dice, if numbers are the same or appear in 1st parent, reroll until you get two different numbers (including different to the 1st parent). the solution with the lowest fitness of the two. Take the Y part of the selected parent and it forms the Y part of the new child solution.
  5. Mutation: Roll a die for each part of the child solutions. If the roll is 1, roll another die and replace the appropriate element with the new number – even if the same as the previous value.
  6. Copy the average  into the table and the lowest value 
  1. Copy the child solutions after mutation (orange) into the yellow area and repeat steps 1-6 10 times 





All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruonAll views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Green Apple Award for helping teach children to code

Taken from: http://www.northampton.ac.uk/news/university-of-northampton-receives-a-green-apple-award-for-helping-teach-children-to-code/


The University of Northampton has been praised for a competition it helped set up with the aim of improving the teaching of computer coding and school pupils’ technology skills.
The Race to the Top contest, which challenged children across the county to design a digital game or mobile app based around saving energy, was awarded a Gold Green Apple Award by the Green Organisation. These are awarded for projects which are considered to be demonstrative of environmental best practice within the public sector.
The winning teams were from Park Junior School in Wellingborough and Kettering Buccleuch Academy who came up with a game which challenges players to fix degrading solar panels on the school roof and an app which tracks household energy consumption.
The competition was organised by the University of Northampton, in partnership with Northamptonshire County Council, Code Club and the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT).
The initiative was part of Northamptonshire’s school improvement strategy and the award was presented at a recent ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London.
Dr Scott Turner, Associate Professor in Computing said: “The feedback we received from the children has shown that the Race to the Top contest has enthused them and having the opportunity to come to the University campus for the celebration event was a real confidence boost and they really enjoyed it.”


All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruon

All views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Unplugged Artist's Chapter

A recently released book Teaching Computing Unplugged in Primary Schools  edited by Helen Caldwell (University of Northampton) and Neil Smith (Open University) has a number of interesting chapters by authors who are passionate about how computing is taught in schools. The central theme is unplugged activities, without using computers, but still teach the fundamental of computational thinking.

Ok, confession time. I co-wrote, along with Katharine Childs (Code Club), Chapter 3 Artists so I am biased here, but I believe in the central theme of Unplugged Computing. Computing, and Computational Thinking in general,  is not just about programming and using a computer (though using computers and  programming are vitally important to Computing) but it is also about many other things including problem-solving, being creative and working collaboratively.

Chapter 3 is about linking these computational thinking ideas to produce visual art, by applying computing principles including  repetition, following and refining algorithms, and abstraction. The chapter also looks, how these links have already being made, with examples such Sol Le Witt where not all the work that was produced by the artist himself, but some by others following his written instructions - in other words an algorithm. An example activity is shown below (named after my son who was the first to play it).

Thomas’ Tangles
Exploring abstract patterns using randomness within an algorithm.

Using crayons, pencils or pens, we are going to follow an algorithm to create a random drawing. This could be done in pairs and you will need squared paper.
Person A: Rolls the dice and reads out the instructions.
Person B: Is the ‘robot' carrying out the instructions.

IMG_0226.JPG

When the starting or central square is blocked and a new central square is needed the roles of A and B swap (so A is the ‘robot’ and B rolls the dice and reads out the instruction). The roles keep swapping.

Algorithm

Start from a random square – call it the centre square
Repeat until end of game
If die roll = 1
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps up the page
If die roll = 2
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps down the page
If die roll = 3
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps to the left
If die roll = 4
Roll die for number of moves
Check for blocks
If not blocked then
move die roll number of steps to the right
If die roll = 5
Roll die
If die = 1 change colour to Red
If die = 2 change colour to Blue
If die = 3 change colour to Black
If die = 4 change colour to Red
If die = 5 change colour to Orange
If die = 6 change colour to Yellow
If die roll = 6
Return to current centre square

Check for blocks:
If pathway blocked do not move then
reroll die
If number of spaces in the direction > die roll then
move until blocked
If all pathways blocked then
choose a new centre square



The other chapters make links with areas such as Robots, Musicians, Explorers, Magicians, Gamers, Cooks and Scientists.


References

Barr, D., Harrion, J., and Conery, L. (2011) Computational Thinking: A Digital Age Skill for Everyone Leading and Learning with Technology, ISTE, March/April 2011 [accessed via http://www.csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CurrFiles/LLCTArticle.pdf on 26/12/2015]
Barr, V. and Stephenson, C. (2011) Bringing Computational Thinking to K-12, ACM Inroads, Vol 2. No 1, pp 48 - 54 [accessed via http://csta.acm.org/Curriculum/sub/CurrFiles/BarrStephensonInroadsArticle.pdf on 26/12/2015]
https://doi.org/10.1145/1929887.1929905
Computing at School (2013) Computing in the National Curriculum: A guide for primary teachers [accessed via http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/CASPrimaryComputing.pdf on 13/3/2016]
Denning, Peter J. (2009) Beyond Computational Thinking, Communications of the ACM Vol 52, Issue 6, pp 28 - 30 [accessed via http://sgd.cs.colorado.edu/wiki/images/7/71/Denning.pdf on 26/12/2015]
DfE: Department for Education (2013) National Curriculum in England: computing programmes of study
Freedman, J. (2015) Cycloid Drawing Machine [online] URL: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1765367532/cycloid-drawing-machine accessed on 3/3/2016.
Google. 2016 Project Jacquard [online] URL: https://www.google.com/atap/project-jacquard/ accesed on:1/3/2016.
Knuth, D. 1968. Preface, The Art of Programming vol 1., Boston: Addison-Wesley.
Knuth, D. 1996. Foreword. In: Petkovsek, M., Wilf, H., Zeilberger, D. A=B.. Natick: A K Peters/CRC Press, vii.
Koetsier, T., 2001. On the prehistory of programmable machines: Musical automata, looms, calculators. Mechanism and Machine Theory, 36(5), 589-603.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0094-114X(01)00005-2
Menegus, B (2016) CDMS: Built with Processing [online] URL: http://wheelof.com/sketch/ accessed on 4/3/2016
MoMA. 2012. MoMA| Video Games [online] URL: http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-the-collection-for-starters/ accessed on: 1/3/2016.
Papert, S (1993) The children's machine: Rethinking schools in the age of the computer. New York: Basic books
Pearson M (2011) Generative Art: A practical guide using Processing, New York: Manning, 3-12
Selby, C. and Woollard, J. (2013) Computational thinking: the developing definition University of Southampton [accessed via http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/356481/7/Selby_Woollard_bg_soton_eprints.pdf on 26/12/2015]
The Art Story (2016) Sol LeWitt [online] http://www.theartstory.org/artist-lewitt-sol.htm accessed on: 6/3/2016
Wing, J. (2006) Computational Thinking Communications of the ACM Vol 49 pp 33 - 35 [accessed via https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~15110-s13/Wing06-ct.pdf on 26/12/2015]
https://doi.org/10.1145/1118178.1118215
Wing, J. (2011) Computational Thinking - What and Why The Link - News from the School of Computer Science, Issue 6.0, Spring 2011 [accessed via http://www.cs.cmu.edu/sites/default/files/11-399_The_Link_Newsletter-3.pdf on 26/12/2015]
Liukas L (2015) Activity 7 The Robots Hello Ruby - Adventures in Coding, New York: Feiwel and Friends, 94-97.
Schofield, S (2016) Generative Artworks [online] URL: http://www.simonschofield.net
Turner S (2016) 3 'Art' Scratch Projects [online] URL: http://compuationalthinking.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/3-of-my-scratch-projects-for-week.html accessed on: 12/3/2016.







All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruonAll opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruonAll views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Enhancing Computing Student Employability Skills Through Partnership Working in STEM Outreach

Enhancing Computing Student Employability Skills Through Partnership Working in STEM Outreach - Springer:


Scott Turner
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-29166-6_10


Published in Software Engineering Education Going Agile Part of the series Progress in IS pp 67-71

Abstract

Student volunteering is growing in the UK and elsewhere, and there is an ongoing debate about whether it is really “self-evidently a ‘good thing’” or there is a greater need for reflection to determine whether this statement is true (Holdsworth and Quinn, Studies in Higher Education35(1), 113–127, 2010). This paper presents a personal reflection of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) volunteering as a potential route to increasing Computing student’s employability.




References


  • 1.
    STEMNet (2015) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network [online] Available at: http:// www. stemnet. org. uk/  Accessed on: 24thJanuary 2015


  • 2.
    Sinclair J, Allen A, Davis L, Goodchild T, Messenger J, Turner S (2014) "Enhancing student employability skills through partnership working in STEM outreach; the University of Northampton approach " HEA STEM Annual Teaching and Learning Conference 2013: Enhancing the STEM Student Journey, University of Edinburgh, 30th April-1st May 2014


  • 3.
    Holdsworth, C., and Quinn, J. (2010). Student volunteering in English higher education. Studies in Higher Education35(1), 113–127.CrossRef



  • 4.
    Brewis, G., Russell, J., and Holdsworth, C. (2010). Bursting the bubble: Students, volunteering and the community. Research Summary.



  • 5.
    Junkbots (2015) Junkbots [online] Available at: http:// junkbots. blogspot. co. uk/  Accessed on: 24th January 2015.

  • All views are the authors, and may not reflect the views of any organisation the author is connected with in any way.

    What do students thinks of exam?

    Ajit, S.  (2017)  Exam as an assessment instrument in computer programming courses: student perceptions.  Poster presented to:  6th Internat...