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Über dieses Buch

This book constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 45th Annual Conference of the Southern African Computer Lecturers' Association on ICT Education, SACLA 2016, held in Cullinan, South Africa, in July 2016.

The three revised full papers and 13 work-in-progress papers presented together with two invited keynote papers were carefully reviewed and selected from 30 submissions. The papers are organized in topical sections on assessment methods, instruction methods, new curricula, social skills, and various experiences.



Invited Lectures


On the Morality of Teaching Students IT Crime Skills

A superficial introduction to the world of viruses, worms and other malware is often sufficient to get students dreaming about the potential power wielded by those technologies. One needs about a minute to teach them how to build a powerful Trojan Horse, how to distribute such a construction as targeted malware and how to monetise the few minutes they invested in such an effort. Such teaching is rewarding since it is one of the few examples where many students immediately apply their new skills to impress friends. Of course the intention is not to make them criminals, but to gain the deep understanding of issues that would otherwise require them to spent hours with books that discuss abstract concepts that often remains abstract.
The question is whether computing educator should ever even consider teaching students skills that may be abused in this manner.
In this paper I argue that knowledge to harm and knowledge to help overlap in many professional contexts. The lecture argues questions on the morally of imparting potentially malicious knowledge should differentiate between imparting it to those entering a profession and imparting it to the masses. While this does not prevent the professional from abusing knowledge, it is argued that the benefit to society will outweigh the harm. In the non-professional context little benefit is likely to accrue to society, but opportunistic abuse of knowledge already acquired is significantly more probable than the possibility of someone purposefully acquiring and abusing such knowledge.
However, even more important than professionalism is the sense of community. It is argued that meaningful professional communities that are able to use harmful knowledge responsibly are rare in computing. Hence care should be exercised when potentially harmful information is to be taught and self-censorship ought to be exercised in general.
Martin S. Olivier

Teaching Informatics in North America: Jugglers Wanted

Teaching informatics (information systems) at the university level in North America is challenging. The teacher in Canada and the United States can be compared to a juggler performing before many spectators. The juggler strives to keep in the air multiple balls that cross each other’s path. A student-learner ball may collide with a student-customer ball, teacher’s needs for new technology and better technological support are countered by funding limitations, while attempts for asserting academic self-identity get confronted by incongruent attributions that the spectators create. Opposed balls come even from the field colleagues when the character of the field and teaching prospects are at stake. The article analyses these tensions and outlines prospects of teaching information systems in North America.
Bob Travica

Assessment Methods


A Comparison of E-Assessment Assignment Submission Processes in Introductory Computing Courses

Students completing university education programs are generally required to complete an Introductory Computing Course (ICC) in their first year of study. Introductory Computing, also referred to as Computer Fundamentals or End User Computing, are theoretical and practical in nature. Due to the large number of students completing the ICCs, institutions are introducing and increasingly utilising e-learning systems and e-assessment systems. Research generally focuses on e-assessment from an educator or instructor’s perspective. In this study, the students’ perceptions of e-assessment were evaluated, exploring different options with regards to the submission and assessment of MS-Office documents as part of the ICC. The study identified the best method of submission from a students’ perspective considering various factors and comparing three different submission methods. The results highlighted suggestions for improving the on-line submission system. The results could assist educators and instructors utilising e-assessment systems in improving the submission and marking processes, in any course where files are required for submission.
Melisa Koorsse, Marinda Taljaard, André P. Calitz

Assessing Programming by Written Examinations

This position paper discusses the assessment of programming courses by means of written examinations. It describes the various learning outcomes of programming that should be covered, and then discusses how well they can be covered in a written examination.
Ken Halland

Criteria for Evaluating Automated Grading Systems to Assess Microsoft Office Skills

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) generally require first year students to attend and complete an Introductory Computing Course (ICC). The topics covered include basic skills in word-processing, spread sheets, power-point presentations and database management systems. Initially ICCs were presented by means of lectures, practicals and tutorials. Increasingly HEIs are utilising e-learning environments to facilitate teaching and learning in ICCs due to the large number of students required to complete the courses and acquire the required IT skill sets. The use of an Automated Grading System (AGS) can significantly enhance the learning process of computer literacy skills in ICCs and make the grading process manageable and provide more thorough assessment. Criteria for the development and selection of an AGS have been provided in literature studies. This paper builds on previous research and provides a detailed set of criteria that was utilised to evaluate the features, benefits and limitations of three commercially available AGSs.
Melisa Koorsse, André P. Calitz, Jaco Zietsman

Towards a Generic DSL for Automated Marking Systems

The automated static and dynamic assessment of programs makes it practical to increase the learning opportunities of large student classes through the regular assessment of programming assignments. Automatic assessments are traditionally specified in tool-specific languages which are closely linked to the functionality and implementation of a particular tool. This paper considers existing specification languages for assessments and proposes a generic and extensible domain-specific language for the specification of programming assignment assessments.
Fritz Solms, Vreda Pieterse

Instruction Methods


Code Pathfinder: A Stepwise Programming E-Tutor Using Plan Mirroring

A significant problem in Computer Science Education is introducing students to programming. Many novice programmers show difficulties in mastering the basics of writing programs. Many students may abandon their study of Computer Science due to these problems. Intelligent Tutoring Systems have been developed to provide guidance and feedback to students. Previous systems require the instructor to prepare extra documentation for the software to function. This creates more work for lecturers who wish to implement such a system. We have developed an Intelligent Tutoring System that will guide a student step-by-step through the writing of simple programs in the language of C++. It will also provide feedback on any mistakes they make. This system will require only a correct version of the code for it to develop its feedback scheme.
Mark S. Durrheim, Abejide Ade-Ibijola, Sigrid Ewert

Flipping a Course on Computer Architecture

This paper reports on an experiment with a flipped classroom for a Computer Architecture course. In a flipped classroom, students access content out of the classroom and then engage in a discussion in-class, rather than the other way around. This seemed like an ideal strategy for a course that can easily focus on the minutiae of architectural details and computer history. The results showed that students liked the interactive and practical aspects of the course but were particularly negative about pre-lecture readings. These results suggest that students need to learn how to learn in different ways, and move away from the exclusive strategy of in-classroom, content-centric lectures.
Hussein Suleman

Effective Integration of a Student Response System in An Undergraduate Computer Science Classroom: An Active-Engagement Instructional Strategy

Classroom learning experiences are often hindered by a lack of student participation and superficial interactions with the course content. Student engagement is essential in ensuring that students take an active role in their own learning experiences. A student response system (SRS) is an educational technology that has proven valuable in increasing student engagement. In this study, an active-engagement instructional strategy was devised to guide the effective integration of an SRS as part of classroom activities. A case study was then conducted to investigate the impact of the instructional strategy on student engagement in an undergraduate Computer Science classroom. Analysis of the collected data indicates that the integration of the SRS supported active learning and increased students’ motivation to participate in classroom activities. The instructional strategy served as an effective guide for instructional activities and helped to identify instances that could sabotage the facilitation of student engagement.
Fani Moses Radebe, Liezel Nel

Teaching Operating Systems: Just Enough Abstraction

There are two major approaches to teaching operating systems: conceptual and detailed. I explore the middle ground with an approach designed to equip students with the tools to explore detail later as the need arises, without requiring the time and grasp of detail needed to understand a full OS implementation. To meet those goals, I apply various strategies to different concepts, for example, faking the detail and using techniques from computer architecture simulation. The course aims to give students a better sense of how things work than a conceptual approach without the time required for a full implementation-based course.
Philip Machanick

New Curricula


CS and IS Alumni Post-Graduate Course and Supervision Perceptions

Stakeholders in academic departments at higher education institutions include faculty, alumni, advisory board members, current students and employers. Stakeholder analysis provides information that academic departments can utilise to evaluate their programme offerings, post-graduate supervision quality and programme relevance. This exploratory study focuses on CS&IS post-graduates’ (alumni) perceptions of their education experience in a CS&IS department. The study further focuses on post-graduate courses they studied, their relevance in industry and if the academic programme adequately prepared them for a career in the ICT industry. The supervision of their post-graduate research was further investigated as well as their overall university experience. The results of the study indicate that the Department of CS&IS provided the relevant courses for employment in the ICT industry at the specific time they completed their studies. This research could assist academic departments in acquiring alumni feedback on their academic experience at an institution and improve post-graduate supervision practices.
André P. Calitz, Jean Greyling, Arthur Glaum

Introducing Health Informatics as an Elective Module in an Information Systems Honours Degree: Experiences from Rhodes University

A priority within South Africa’s eHealth strategy is the development of skills needed to implement and support health information systems. In view of the time frames involved in creating and delivering new undergraduate curricula, a feasible short-term approach to capacity building is to equip Information Systems (IS) graduates with relevant knowledge of healthcare systems and eHealth technologies. The IS Department at Rhodes University introduced an elective module in Health Informatics within their one-year Honours program, aimed at preparing IS students for careers in eHealth. This paper outlines the module content and in-sights gained from student feedback.
Greg Foster, Jane Nash

Towards an Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programme in Big Data and Data Science: A South African Perspective

Many businesses see Big Data and Data Science as a catalyst for innovation. The problem is that many of these businesses are hesitant to embrace these new technologies mainly because of a shortage in skilled manpower. On a global level, higher education institutions are in the process of developing curricula for graduate degree programs relating to Big Data and Data Science. Developing such curriculum has its own challenges. For example: What level of knowledge is required from disciplines such as Computing and Statistics? What underlying foundations in Mathematics are required? This paper presents a framework for the design of an interdisciplinary Big Data and Data Science curriculum on the Master’s level.
Linda Marshall, Jan H. P. Eloff

Social Skills


Reflections on a Community-Based Service Learning Approach in a Geoinformatics Project Module

Geoinformatics (also known as geographic information science) is the science and technology that underpins the collection, representation, processing, analysis, visualisation and dissemination of geographic information. Such information is hugely valuable in solving environmental and social problems in society. In this paper we reflect on a community-based service learning approach in a third year geoinformatics module. Students mapped an informal settlement, captured information about dwellings and conducted a number of studies in support of environmental and social problem solving. The aim was to raise awareness of social issues, to understand students’ sense of social responsibility and their understanding of the role of geoinformatics in solving community problems. After completion of the module, we conducted in-depth interviews with ten students. The results confirm the value of community-based service learning in enhancing understanding of theoretical concepts and contributing to local communities. Further work is needed to better understand how South African geoinformatics students can be made aware of the role of geoinformatics in solving problems in society.
Serena Coetzee, Victoria Rautenbach

Which Are Harder? Soft Skills or Hard Skills?

This paper describes some technical and employability skills that are essential for our students to succeed in a career in software development. We conducted research aimed at understanding the students’ problems when required to develop these skills. We explain our techniques for observing skills gaps. Knowledge about these gaps enables us to intervene and suggest remedial action. We discuss how we create opportunities for our students to enhance their skills, based on our experience and the findings of our research.
Vreda Pieterse, Marko van Eekelen

Various Experiences


A Case Study in the Use of the Five Step Peer Evaluation Strategy to Improve a First Year Computer Literacy Course: An Exercise in Reflective Evaluation Practice

In this paper, I recount my experiences in conducting a comprehensive five step evaluative exercise which was aimed at collecting feedback from various sources in order to help inform future teaching interventions for a first year computer literacy course in a South African university. The exercise centres on a focus group study that was conducted with a number of students who had completed the course between 2013 and 2015 and solicited their feedback on the basis of their own personal experiences. The five step process in which this study was executed included collecting feedback from a critical peer in addition to synthesising the author’s own insights. The study was prompted by the author’s realization that feedback is most often mistaken for evaluation, whereas evaluation is better conceived as the triangulation of various sources of information. The use of a focus group study instead of the common feedback method of the questionnaire also helped engage the students more robustly and was better suited as a tool to collect a richer set of qualitative data. The study yielded useful insights which have implications for teaching and learning activities, assessment of student learning and the curriculum at large.
Mosiuoa Tsietsi

Enterprise Resource Planning Teaching Challenges Faced by Lecturers in African Higher Education Institutions

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is considered a scarce graduate competence due to ERP pervasiveness in industry. In response the international Information Systems 2010 curricula includes ERP courses. Yet most African HEIs struggle to integrate and teach technology due to challenges such as poor technology infrastructure. Hence developing ERP courses comes with major challenges. Therefore this research aimed to identify challenges of teaching ERP in African HEIs. The study in a case from Namibia and Tanzania confirmed literature challenges such as financial constraints and insufficient technological infrastructure, and new challenges emerged such as course scheduling challenges and dealing with diverse students such as part-time and distance learning students. The study proposes strategies to deal with these challenges.
Khadija M. Mahanga, Lisa F. Seymour

Grit and Growth Mindset Among High School Students in a Computer Programming Project: A Mixed Methods Study

This paper investigates the effects of grit (“passion and perseverance for a long-term goal”) and growth mindset in grade 11 high school students (Terminological clarification: Throughout this paper the term ‘students’ refers to the pupils in secondary education before university. In the South African discourse they are typically refered to as ‘learners’.), as they code a non-trivial programming project in Java. Students are guided through the stages of the development of a programming project by the teacher and are given a rubric describing the criteria for assessment. The project is scaffolded by the teacher. Assessments are frequent with detailed feedback provided to the students. The students’ grit and mindset are measured using questionnaires to form part of the quantitative data, together with the number of times each student submitted his project. Six students were interviewed to provide detailed qualitative data to interrogate the qualitative data. Although the correlation between the grit and mindset was weak, a stronger correlation was determined between the number of submissions and the project scores..
Delia Kench, Scott Hazelhurst, Femi Otulaja


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