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EACSC: Effective Alignment in Computer Science Curricula

Duration: August 2018 until July 2024

Motivation of the project

Alignment in teaching refers to the triangle of content, teaching and testing modes: they should fit together. You cannot effectively teach Defense Against the Dark Arts without a wand, or test it effectively through a multiple choice form. Neither does it seem sensible to test programming skills through a hand-written test; yet that is often still what happens in Computer Science.

Lasting innovation is hampered by practical obstacles such as maintainability and scalability of the chosen forms. It occurs on the side of the students (in a programme with 200 students, extensive individual feedback may be infeasible) but also on the side of the teachers (a form that works due to the enthusiasm of its inventor may no longer be effective when that spark has died down or the course is taken over by a colleague).

On the whole, we can characterise Computer Science students on the one hand by a large degree of technical creativity and a drive to understand and control the working of (electronic) devices, and on the other hand by an inward rather than outward focus. These characteristics should be taken into account in the choice of teaching and testing methods in a Computer Science curriculum.

Topic of study

Concrete topics of study include, but are not limited to:

  •     Community-based learning
  •     Real-life-sized projects in the curriculum
  •     Automated assessment and feedback for programming
  •     Secure digital testing