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Experiences with efficient methodologies for teaching computer programming to geoscientists

Experiences with efficient methodologies for teaching computer programming to geoscientists
Experiences with efficient methodologies for teaching computer programming to geoscientists
Computer programming was once thought of as a skill required only by professional software developers. But today, given the ubiquitous nature of computation and data science it is quickly becoming necessary for all scientists and engineers to have at least a basic knowledge of how to program. Teaching how to program, particularly to those students with little or no computing background, is well-known to be a difficult task. However, there is also a wealth of evidence-based teaching practices for teaching programming skills that can be applied to greatly improve learning outcomes and the student experience. Adopting these practices naturally gives rise to greater learning efficiency - this is critical if programming is to be integrated into an already busy geoscience curriculum. This article considers an undergraduate computer programming course, run during the last five years in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. The teaching methodologies that were used each year are discussed, along with the challenges that were encountered and how the methodologies affected student performance. Anonymized student marks and feedback are used to highlight the discussion, and also how the adjustments made to the course eventually resulted in a highly effective learning environment.
183-198
Jacobs, Christian T.
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Gorman, Gerard J.
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Rees, Huw E.
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Craig, Lorraine E.
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Jacobs, Christian T.
0ffde78b-6ae2-4b44-a916-666f6be2b92c
Gorman, Gerard J.
12156f2f-fa24-4704-907d-3307917d528e
Rees, Huw E.
f436ed49-ee2f-4fa3-bfae-ed9e9f405289
Craig, Lorraine E.
45d4345e-1861-475b-aa93-38c9450313cb

Jacobs, Christian T., Gorman, Gerard J., Rees, Huw E. and Craig, Lorraine E. (2016) Experiences with efficient methodologies for teaching computer programming to geoscientists. Journal of Geoscience Education, 64 (3), 183-198. (doi:10.5408/15-101.1).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Computer programming was once thought of as a skill required only by professional software developers. But today, given the ubiquitous nature of computation and data science it is quickly becoming necessary for all scientists and engineers to have at least a basic knowledge of how to program. Teaching how to program, particularly to those students with little or no computing background, is well-known to be a difficult task. However, there is also a wealth of evidence-based teaching practices for teaching programming skills that can be applied to greatly improve learning outcomes and the student experience. Adopting these practices naturally gives rise to greater learning efficiency - this is critical if programming is to be integrated into an already busy geoscience curriculum. This article considers an undergraduate computer programming course, run during the last five years in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. The teaching methodologies that were used each year are discussed, along with the challenges that were encountered and how the methodologies affected student performance. Anonymized student marks and feedback are used to highlight the discussion, and also how the adjustments made to the course eventually resulted in a highly effective learning environment.

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1505.05425v3.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 June 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 August 2016
Published date: 19 August 2016
Organisations: Aerodynamics & Flight Mechanics Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 399698
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/399698
PURE UUID: f670a2ab-f09f-4b94-8989-7f54779213bb
ORCID for Christian T. Jacobs: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0034-4650

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Aug 2016 11:33
Last modified: 16 Sep 2019 18:03

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