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ERIC Number: EJ848657
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1547-9714
Studying Computer Science in a Multidisciplinary Degree Programme: Freshman Students' Orientation, Knowledge, and Background
Kautz, Karlheinz; Kofoed, Uffe
Journal of Information Technology Education, v3 p227-244 2004
Teachers at universities are facing an increasing disparity in students' prior IT knowledge and, at the same time, experience a growing disengagement of the students with regard to involvement in study activities. As computer science teachers in a joint programme in computer science and business administration, we made a number of similar observations. We also noted increasing difficulties with mathematics and see a growing number of students with previous knowledge in computer science, while others have little or no expertise in this area. These observations cause problems and present a major challenge for teachers. To get a better understanding and as a prerequisite for reforming the programme we posed four research questions: What are the students' motives and expectations with regard to the chosen study programme? To what extent are the students engaged in non-academic work activities? What prior knowledge do the students have about IT and computer science? What off campus access do the students have to IT facilities? Our findings provide a number of interesting indications. The results regarding motives and expectations suggest that there ought to be a good basis for the students to improve their efforts in computer science. However, as the majority does not know what kind of work to carry out in the future, better information about the programme and relevant jobs should be provided. Concerning the students' disengagement and its possible relation to their external workload, no conclusions can be drawn and this issue has to be researched further. The same is true about the students' expertise in mathematics. The students' previous knowledge seems to be so comprehensive that it should be considered in the teaching and inform the whole curriculum design. As there are still a substantial number of students who arrive at the programme with no previous knowledge, it is however necessary to design a syllabus and organise the course programme to accommodate different types of students. The survey also shows that IT is a natural toolset for the students, which in the future should be used more deliberately for the education. The paper provides the opportunity for other faculty to reflect on the role their students' backgrounds and expectations may play in the classroom experience. A copy of the survey is included in the appendix as a guide for those interested in conducting a similar study of their own student population. (Contains 11 tables.)
Informing Science Institute. 131 Brookhill Court, Santa Rosa, CA 95409. Tel: 707-537-2211; Fax: 480-247-5724; Web site: http://JITE.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Denmark