Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


The Analysis of First Year Computer Science Design Documents Public Deposited

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  • Computer science is, at its core, about solving problems. The "Carry out the Plan" portion of problem solving is often examined and emphasized in CS 1 and CS 2, forgetting to emphasize the other important aspects of the problem solving process. This study focuses on the other problem-solving steps, which we refer to as design, and include “Understanding the Problem,” “Devise a Plan,” and “Creating a testing plan.” Four terms of design data (2, 797 design documents) are examined to answer the questions of how design document quality correlates to grades, whether syllabus detail impacts the quality of design documents, whether differences in design document quality diverge along demographic lines, and what attitudes students harbor toward design. The results show minimal to no correlations to grades, that syllabus detail does impact the way students design, that there are few differences based on demographic information, and that students do value design when asked in a survey. These insights have implications on when and how design is taught and opens questions on how to best assess design.
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