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A Cognitive Based Approach To The Implementation Of The Introductory Computer Science Programming Sequence

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.3.1 - 1.3.9



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Paper Authors

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Michael V. Doran

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Herbert E. Longenecker

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David L. Feinstein

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David D. Langan

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1626

A Cognitive-Based Approach to the Implementation of the Introductory Computer Science Programming Sequence

David D. Langan, Michael V. Doran, David L. Feinstein, Herbert E. Longenecker University of South Alabama School of Computer and Information Sciences Mobile, Alabama 36688


A cognitive-based approach is being used to develop comprehensive materials for the first courses in Computer Science based on Implementation D of Computing Curricula 1991. The distinguishing features are: (1) materials based on a strategic sequencing and the associated Bloom level of mastery of key topics, (2) topical coverage carefully based on a spiral approach to information presentation, (3) integral use of structured labs as a necessary component of the course, (4) an emphasis on frequent feedback to facilitate learning and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction, (5) an early use of teams, (6) a student surveying tool used to track all students to provide outcome assessment, and (7) review and evaluation by multiple institutions for iterative material refinement and national dissemination. A preliminary on-site evaluation, by a team of five consultants with expertise in the fields of computing, computing education and educational psychology, was conducted at the beginning of the project to critique project planning and initial materials. Materials currently developed will be class tested and evaluated by other faculty during the remainder of this year. These updated materials will be refined and further disseminated. The evaluation of materials will continue with the original five on- site consultants, three off-site consultants and several review/adoption institutions. An Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement workshop has been funded and is being planned for June of 1996. This will allow 20 participants to be exposed to the methodology and materials developed in this project.


The ACM, IEEE and DPMA have over the years presented curricula guidelines1,7,10. These guidelines have been used by institutions to assure a quality education for computer and information science students. Compliance with these guidelines is often used by accrediting boards in evaluating the quality of a program.

Although the published curricula state suggested topical coverage and time allotments, the implementation is subject to a wide range of interpretations. The general nature of these suggestions allows each instructor the freedom to make different assumptions regarding student capabilities upon entering the course. Similarly, the targeted course behavioral objectives may differ substantially from one instructor to another. As a consequence of these differences between instructors, students will not be equally prepared by the same course or sequence. This problem is further aggravated by the use of part-time faculty or graduate students teaching the course. These instructors are often totally unfamiliar with the curriculum guidelines and are given vague or limited instructions on course objectives.

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Doran, M. V., & Longenecker, H. E., & Feinstein, D. L., & Langan, D. D. (1996, June), A Cognitive Based Approach To The Implementation Of The Introductory Computer Science Programming Sequence Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5915

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