Jump to navigation
Encouraging CS Novices to Write
Communication skills are arguably among the most important skills for Computer Science (CS) professionals, and if not at the very top of the list, then certainly near it . Yet oddly, other than writing code and associated program documents, CS students are rarely given writing tasks in their CS courses. This paper will examine some possible reasons for why there are few writing tasks other than programming and documentation assigned in CS courses, and what benefits could be realized through more and varied forms of writing. A strategy that has been implemented twice at the author’s institution is outlined. It involves the use of short, 250-500 word “reading responses”, where students are encouraged to produce what are essentially editorial pieces on some topic relating to the course content. The details of the assignment, as well as the intended outcomes will be outlined. The concept proposed in this paper was implemented in the fall of 2006 in a small class of 30 first year students, and was used again in a larger section of the same course, where there were approximately 100 students. Some initial student reactions are outlined. Suggestions for further examination and development of the concept are suggested.
Computer scienceTeaching-MethodologyProgramming languages (Electronic computers)
Science and Technology