Title: A practical strategy for teaching algorithms (CS1) to beginners

Authors: Marcelo De Paiva Guimarães; Bruno Barberi Gnecco

Addresses: Open University of Brazil-UNIFESP/Faccamp's Master Program, São Paulo, SP, Brazil ' Corollarium Technologies, Itapecerica da Serra, SP, Brazil

Abstract: Learning algorithms is a challenging task faced by novice computer science students. These students are expected to become proficient in the basics of programming and logic, but the failure and dropout rates in the introduction to algorithms courses are usually high. This paper aims to present a practical strategy for teaching algorithms to beginners in computer science, addressing issues such as teaching strategy, student engagement, and institutional planning. This strategy was developed and implemented over a decade of teaching algorithms in a variety of contexts (bachelor degree, information technology, and major in computer science). During this period, a pass, failure, and dropout rate survey of 603 students was conducted by the same instructor. The analysis of these data and reflections about the teaching strategies are presented.

Keywords: practical strategy; teaching algorithms; CS1; beginners; algorithms; computer science education; engineering education; programming.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTCS.2017.086672

International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies, 2017 Vol.8 No.2/3, pp.102 - 115

Received: 18 Oct 2016
Accepted: 13 Feb 2017

Published online: 08 Sep 2017 *

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