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Challenges and Benefits of Programming Competitions as Outreach to High School Students

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Software Engineering Outreach: Industry, K-12

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.282.1 - 23.282.14



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Paper Authors


Sushil Acharya Robert Morris University

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Sushil Acharya, D.Eng., Associate Professor of Software Engineering joined Robert Morris University in spring of 2005 after serving 15 years in the Software Industry. With US Airways Acharya was responsible for creating a Data Warehouse conceptual design and using advance Data Mining Tools for performance improvement. With i2 Technologies he worked on i2’s Data Mining product “Knowledge Discover Framework” and at CEERD (Thailand) he was the product manager of three energy software products (MEDEE-S/ENV, EFOM/ENV and DBA-VOID) which are in use in 26 Asian and seven European countries by both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Acharya has a M.Eng. in Computer Technology and a D.Eng. in Computer Science and Information Management with a concentration in knowledge discovery, both from the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. His teaching involvement and research interest are in the areas of Software Engineering and Development (Verification & Validation) and Enterprise Resource Planning. He also has interest in Learning Objectives based Education Material Design and Development. Acharya is a co-author of “Discrete Mathematics Applications for Information Systems Professionals- 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall”. He is a life member of Nepal Engineering Association and is also a member of ASEE, and ACM. Acharya is a recipient of the “Mahendra Vidya Bhusak” a prestigious medal awarded by the Government of Nepal for academic excellence. He is a member of the Program Committee of WMSCI, MEI, CCCT, EEET, ISAS, AG, KGMC and IMCIC and is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics of the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics.

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Challenges and Benefits of Programming Competitions as Outreach to High School Students AbstractSoftware development-oriented competitions are one way that computing degree programssupport outreach to local high schools. Such competitions motivate students to succeed, helpstudents build teamwork, and assist in improving student skills. Indeed, there are a variety ofdifferent types of competitions ranging from robotics [1] to process-oriented competitions thatemphasize team interactions [2]. This paper reports on the approaches used by twoinstitutions that annually conduct programming competitions for area high school students.The goal of the paper is to provide insight into both how competitions can be organized as wellas the challenges to and benefits of competitions. The paper will address questions such as:Who takes part in the competitions? How does host institution organize and deliver such acompetition? What are the benefits for such competitions for the students, high schoolteachers, and host institutions? Do programming competitions motivate students to succeed?What are the challenges to hosting such a competition for students, high school teachers, andhost institutions? What skills and knowledge do students gain from preparing for andcompeting in such competitions? What motivation do high school teachers have forparticipating in programming competitions?This paper will report on the approaches taken to programming competitions at twoUniversities. The paper will discuss the motivation for hosting programming competitions,describe the type of programming competitions held at each institution, and outline theprocedure for hosting a programming competition. Results of a survey of high school teacherson their perceptions of student motivation and learning as well as the impact of thecompetition on student career plans will be presented. The paper will also discuss thechallenges to hosting such competitions and describe the benefits to students, teachers, andthe host institutions.Bibliography [1] Ladd, B. and Harcourt, E. (2005), Student Competitions and Bots in an Introductory Programming Course, Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Volume 20 Issue 5, May 2005, Pages 274-284 [2] Bowering, J. (2008), A new paradigm for Programming Competitions, Proceedings of the 39th SIGCSE technical symposium on computer science education, pages 87-91,

Acharya, S. (2013, June), Challenges and Benefits of Programming Competitions as Outreach to High School Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19296

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