ERIC Number: ED338227
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Conceptions of Programming: A Study into Learning To Program.
This paper reports the results of a phenomenographic study which focused on identifying and describing the conceptions of programming and related phenomena of about 120 computer science and computer engineering students learning to program. The report begins by tracing developments in the students' conceptions of programming and its parts, and then looks at the development of their understanding of programming concepts and techniques. A group of undergraduate students at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) were followed during their 6 months of study, during which time they received instruction in two programming languages--SML (Standard Meta-Language) and Pascal. The students were interviewed six times during the study, and the results of the study are based on thorough analyses of the first and sixth interviews, plus interviews with a group of 12 second year students who had completed a further course of programming. Data from "Programmers at Work" (Lammers, 1986), a collection of interviews with successful professional programmers, were used to broaden the base of the study. Analyses identified students' conceptions of programming as an activity, a problem to be solved, and an end product; computers as tools, facilitators, simple machines, and universal engine conceptions; and programming languages as codes, utilities, a means of communication, and a means of expression. The report concludes with discussions of complexity in the conceptions of programming, learning to program, and further research to be conducted as a continuation of this study. Descriptions of the programming languages and an outline of the interviews are appended. (11 references) (DB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Goteborg Univ., Molndal (Sweden). Inst. of Education.