The effect of an interdisciplinary science course on student perceptions of computer programming

Adam Piggott, Sara Herke, Timothy McIntyre, Michael Bulmer


Interdisciplinary courses are being offered and recommended by many academic institutions as part of a science degree. In one such first year interdisciplinary science course with a large enrollment we measured attitudes to and perceptions of computer programming at the start and end of semester. For those students with prior computer programming experience, there was a significant positive change in their attitudes to and perceptions of computer programming. The aspects of the course that effected this change were examined. Most students reported that the regular tutorials and the summative assignment, each of which integrated scientific modelling, communication and computer programming, had a positive effect on their attitudes to and perceptions of computer programming. This suggests that an interdisciplinary course can be an effective way to introduce skills such as computer programming.


interdisciplinary course; attitudes; perceptions; computer programming; science; mathematics

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