The dimensions of variation in the teaching of data structures

Raymond Lister, Ilona Box, Briana Morrison, Josh Tenenberg, D. Suzanne Westbrook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current debate about the teaching of data structures is hampered because, as a community, we usually debate specifics about data structure implementations and libraries, when the real level of disagreement remains implicit - the intent behind our teaching. This paper presents a phenomenographic study of the intent of CS educators for teaching data structures in CS2. Based on interviews with Computer Science educators and analysis of CS literature, we identified five categories of intent: developing transferable thinking, improving students' programming skills, knowing "what's under the hood", knowledge of software libraries, and component thinking. The CS community needs to first debate at the level of these categories before moving to more specific issues. This study also serves as an example of how phenomenographic analysis can be used to inform debate on syllabus design in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science
Pages92-96
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 20 2004
EventProceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Leeds, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 28 2004Jun 30 2004

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education

Other

OtherProceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLeeds
Period6/28/046/30/04

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Keywords

  • CS2
  • Data structures
  • Introductory programming
  • Java Collections Framework
  • Phenomenography
  • STL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Lister, R., Box, I., Morrison, B., Tenenberg, J., & Westbrook, D. S. (2004). The dimensions of variation in the teaching of data structures. In Proceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science (pp. 92-96). (Proceedings of the 9th Annual SIGCSE Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education).