Archive for March 15, 2012

Guzdial wins IEEE CS 2012 Computer Science & Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award

Please excuse me for tooting my own horn here, but I figure that it is computing education news:  I just got the call from John Walz, 2012 President of the IEEE Computing Society, that I am being awarded the IEEE CS 2012 Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award. The inscription reads, “For outstanding and sustained excellence in computing education through innovative teaching, mentoring, inventive course development, and knowledge dissemination.” It’s a great list of previous awardees, and I’m proud to be on that list with them! My many thanks to John Impagliazzo of Hoffstra who championed my nomination.

March 15, 2012 at 9:11 am 13 comments

A lesson from physics: Even lucid lectures on abstractions don’t work

I used Arnold Arons’ work a lot when I did my dissertation, so I particularly liked this quote from a recent Richard Hake post.  There are direct implications for us in CS, where just about everything (from FOR loops to linked lists) are abstract ideas.  Lectures, even lucid ones on these topics, don’t work for most students.

“I point to the following unwelcome truth: much  as we might dislike the implications, research is showing that didactic exposition of abstract  ideas and lines of reasoning (however engaging and lucid we might try to make them) to passive  listeners yields pathetically thin results in learning and understanding – except in the very small percentage of students who are specially  gifted in the field.”
Arnold Arons (1997)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by <> and accessed on 06 March 2012.] Arons, A.B. 1997. “Teaching Introductory
Physics,” p. 362. Wiley, publisher’s information  at <>. information at <>, note the searchable  “Look Inside” feature.

March 15, 2012 at 8:43 am 3 comments

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