CODE CAMP CONCEPT IN TEACHING AND INTEGRATION OF ESSENTIAL COMPUTER SCIENCE SKILLS
University of Technology (FINLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:Skills acquired during university studies should give sufficient competence for a work career. Different categorizations, including a developed one, of computer science related skills are discussed through a literature survey for the purpose of integrating them into a curricula and courses. In this paper the Code Camp concept is reviewed and analyzed from the point of view of the skills required for careers in computer science. A Code Camp is an event in which students work together for an intensive time period, no more than a week. The event emphasizes the development of both personal skills and knowledge and social skills through the learning of programming related issues, e.g. writing software for a Google Glass or for an embedded environment. However, at the same time the spirit of the event emphasizes the collaborative nature of doing something meaningful together, thus focusing on soft skills too. The learning of skills is monitored with intermediate milestones where students show the progress made in their skills and cognitive development.
In this paper three Code Camps of similar skill learning outcomes are analyzed. The analysis is based on a reference course that has annually utilized the Code Camp concept. In this study we look more closely the skill integration and improvement of two particular skills, namely programming and group work skills. The results of the individual learning on programming grew steadily each year, which could indicate that either students are becoming better or the concept attracts students that are more interested in programming in general. Different group work aspects, such as intra- and inter group, roles within team and its members, the spirit of the Code Camp, workload distribution and collaboration between groups in other universities is studied. The results indicate that internal group and workload distribution succeeded well. On the other hand, inter-group work and collaboration between different groups in different universities did not perform that well.
Students of the Code Camps were also asked to what extent the different aspects affect the emphasized skills (programming and group works aspects). Of the topics, only time spent together in the classroom was graded higher than normally. Furthermore, students were asked how different learning components were realized in the course. These components were code quality improvement, coding speed improvement, better knowledge of the coding process, the fun factor, the dependability of the teachers, the feeling that passing coding courses would become easier, and improved coding skills. In general, the results seem quite positive though some local differences exist. Code quality, speed and the coding process seem to have improved. The most important result, in addition to skill improvements, was that the students seemed to have fun. The most important result from our research is a successful integration hard and soft skills into Code Camp concept. The students feel confident that their programming and group work skills have improved. The results indicate that well-planned skill integration into the Code Camp concept is feasible and the Code Camp approach promotes the skills the students need to for their future careers.
Keywords: Code Camp, collaborative learning, skills, survey.