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Gary Hill: solving problems


Referencing within Code in Software Engineering Education!

Computer Education 05/2012; 10(166):1.
ABSTRACT Traditionally computer sciences courses will assess software code. It is common and accepted good practice (as in written reports) to reference other sources of appropriate material. However there appears to be no explicit method, recommendation or advice available to computer science tutors and students on a referencing approach!

This paper aims to stimulate discussion from peers involved in software engineering education. By discussing the apparent lack of ‘referencing within code’ advice to students and proposing suggestions for appropriate solutions. This will be based on the authors’ experience of assessing code and the current advice given to their students.


Is it Visual? The importance of a Problem Solving Module within a Computing course

Computer Education 05/2012; 10(166):5.
ABSTRACT This paper looks at student’s view of the usefulness of a problem solving and programming module in the first year of a 3-year undergraduate program. The School of Science and Technology, University of Northampton, UK has been investigating, over the last seven years the teaching of problem solving. Including looking at whether a more visual approach has any benefits (the visual programming includes both 2-d and graphical user interfaces). Whilst the authors have discussed the subject problem solving and programming in the past this paper considers the students perspective from research collected/collated by a student researcher under a new initiative within the University.

All students interviewed either had completed the module within the two years of the survey or were completing the problem-solving module in their first year.



Robots within the Teaching of Problem-Solving

ITALICS 06/2008; 7(1):108.
ABSTRACT This paper considers the experiences of teaching on a module where problem-solving is taught first, then programming. The main tools for the problem-solving part, alongside two problem-solving approaches, are tasks using Mindstorm (LEGO, Denmark) robot kits. This is being done as a foundation step before the syntax of a language (Java) is taught to enable a Graphical User Interface (GUI) emulation of a previous robot problem.
Results of student evaluation and feedback will be presented and the use of twosimulators will be considered.



A virtual environment training system for haptic laparoscopic surgery

16th International Conference on Automation and Computing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, 11 September 2010.
Source: OAI
ABSTRACT Most of the existing laparoscopic simulations which use simple objects are only for the purpose of the training of laparoscopic surgical skills. We have designed and developed an early prototype of a laparoscopic simulation system in which almost all of the soft tissue organs are modeled as deformable models which can be manipulated using a laparoscopic instrument with haptic feedback. Physics-based modeling is applied to realize collision detection, force rendering and elasticity deformation. A new mechanism to analyze and evaluate the injuries to the soft issues is introduced. Preliminary experimental results show that the simulator can meet the requirement of 1 kHz haptic loop update rate under complex virtual scene



Green computer science courses. No more labs full of computers, we?re going mobile!

THE PROCEEDINGS OF 7TH CHINA - EUROPE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON SOFTWARE INDUSTRY- ORIENTED EDUCATION held at the University of Northampton, May 2011
ABSTRACT Traditionally computer sciences courses have been taught using laboratories full of expensive desktop computers. This approach may have been valid in the 80, 90?s and even the early part of this decade. This paper suggests that buying; maintaining and replacing laboratories full of computers are no longer a requirement. This paper raises the issues associated with such a ?bold? step, but offers potential solutions that, in some cases, may make Computer Science courses at such ?brave? institutions more appealing




Problems first

In book: Software Industry-Oriented Education Practices and Curriculum Development: Experiences and Lessons, Publisher: IGI Global, Editors: M. Hussey and B. Wu and X. Xiaofei
ABSTRACT This chapter considers the need to focus initial programming education on problem-solving, in advance of programming syntax and software design methodology. The main vehicle for this approach is simple Lego based robots programmed in Java, followed by the programming of a graphical representation/simulation to develop programming skills. Problem solving is not trivial (Beaumont & Fox, 2003) and is an important skill, central to computing and engineering. An approach will be considered, illustrated with a series of problem-solving tasks that increase in complexity at each stage and give the students practice in attempting problem-solving approaches, as well as assisting them to learn from their mistakes. Some of the problems include ambiguities or are purposely ill-defined, to enable the student to resolve these as part of the process. The benefits to students will be discussed including students? statements that this approach, using robots, provides a method to visually and physically see the outcome of a problem. In addition, students report that the method improves their satisfaction with the course. The importance of linking the problem-solving robot activity and the programming assignment, whilst maintaining the visual nature of the problem, will be discussed, together with the comparison of this work with similar work reported by other authors relating to teaching programming using robots (Williams, 2003)






Robots in problem-solving and programming

ABSTRACT This paper looks at the experience of teaching on a module where problem-solving is taught first, then programming. The main tools for the problem-solving part, alongside two problem-solving approaches, are tasks based on using Mindstorm (LEGO, Denmark) robot kits. This is being done as a foundation step before the syntax of a language (Java) is taught. Results of student evaluation will be presented.



Motivational differences in learning internet programming between arts and computing students

ABSTRACT This poster discusses the observations on learning differences of teaching internet programming to Arts and Computing students on a common undergraduate programming module

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All views and opinions are the author's and do not necessarily reflected those of any organisation they are associated with. Twitter: @scottturneruon

Social Analysis of Publications

The Computing staff's network of co-authors, at the University of Northampton, based on the University's  research repository NECTAR - http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/view/divisions/SSTCT.html on 12th November 2016. The data goes back to 2010.




The data was analysed using the software VOSviewer - http://www.vosviewer.com/ free software for visualising networks. Differences in colours represents, the clusters of publications with those authors picked out by the software. The relative size of the circles is the relative number of publications listed; so for the two biggest circles/hubs it relates to 55 and 34 publications in this time period. Some relatively new authors, to the University but not to research, explains some of the 'islands' and the number of publications within it - it only reflects publications whilst at the University of Northampton.

To dig a little deeper, going to  look at the two biggest 'hubs' through their NECTAR records, so potentially going …

Computer lecturer’s research helps improve the next generation of technology

Taken from: http://www.northampton.ac.uk/news/computer-lecturers-research-helps-improve-the-next-generation-of-technology/ A computing lecturer at the University of Northampton, who is researching into how the efficiency of our everyday devices, such as mobile phones, can be improved, has been awarded the best paper at two recent conferences. Dr Michael Opoku Agyeman has written several journal papers focusing on how the next generation of technology can meet the ever increasing demands from consumers. He was invited to present his work at the 19th Euromicro Conference on Digital System Design in Cyprus and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ 14th International Conference in Paris. Part of his research concentrates on whether several processing elements can be incorporated on a single chip, known as System-On-Chip, to improve the efficiency and speed of the computing systems that we use every day, from mobile phones to video-game consoles and even medical equipment…