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Teaching Methodologies for Third-Level Computer Science Support Centres

Author Olga Murdoch, Tadhg O'Sullivan, Henry Mcloughlin and John Dunnion,
Abstract The Computer Science Support Centre (CSSC), formerly known as the Computer Programming Support Centre (CPSC) was established in 2008 by the UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics. A previous publication (Naughton, 2010) introduced the CPSC and examined its use and effectiveness based on data collected from attendance records and student feedback. The numbers of students attending the CPSC were observed to increase over time and it was illustrated through analysis of attendance records that the main area students sought help in were related to the implementation of specific programming languages. The number of students attending the CSSC has continued to increase over time meaning there are more students than ever that rely on CSSC support at some point in their studies. Repeat visits by individual students have also increased. It is essential that the teaching methodologies adopted by CSSC tutors enable students to become independent learners, rather than becoming dependant on the additional support throughout their studies. The existence of attendance records since the establishment of the support centre has provided valuable insight into the effectiveness of teaching methodologies adopted by tutors in the CSSC. This paper extends the work of the previous authors by describing the evolution of these teaching methodologies, based on ongoing analysis of student interactions with the centre. A concept-led teaching methodology for supporting students with programming difficulties is described and its impact is examined through comparative analysis of attendance records before and after this approach was adopted in the CSSC.
Keywords Third-level education, Support Centre, Computer Science, Teaching methodologies
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2012
Date 2012
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