South African Computer Journal - Dec 2008
Volumes & issues
Author Lucas VenterSource: South African Computer Journal 12 (2008)More Less
The South African Computer Journal has for a long time served the Computer Science and Information Systems research community in South Africa, and in particular SAICSIT. Since its inception in 1989, a total of 344 research papers were published. In a paper submitted to SACJ, and currently under review, the authors points out that virtually all of these papers address issues in the theoretical foundations of the community's work.
Knowledge, skills and strategies for successful object-oriented programming : a proposed learning repertoireSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 1 –8 (2008)More Less
Third year Computer Science students were studied in order to determine which knowledge, skills and strategies they used during an object-oriented programming task. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyse their computer programs and associated thinking processes. Successful programmers applied significantly more cognitive, metacognitive and problem-solving knowledge, skills and strategies, also using a greater variety, than the unsuccessful ones. Based on the approaches of the successful programmers, we propose a learning repertoire of integrated knowledge, skills and strategies, which can serve as a framework to support novices learning object-oriented programming (OOP).
Author Dick Ng'ambiSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 9 –13 (2008)More Less
Most educational opportunities offered by mobile devices which are used by students for entertainment, such as iPods and mp3 players, have not been fully exploited. Although social uses of mobile devices among students is increasingly common, there has been little evidence to demonstrate how socially pervasive devices contribute to student learning. One of the phenomenons changing the higher education landscape is podcasting. However, despite the growing adoption of podcasting in education, not much is known about effective integration of podcasts at pedagogical level to have meaningful impact on student learning. This paper reports on a two-year project that explored the use of podcasts to mediate reflection. The paper draws on expansive learning as espoused by Engestrom to illustrate how podcast mediated tasks escalated learning among students at a higher education institution. The paper analyzed students' reflective stories using deconstruction analysis. The paper concludes that effective educational uses of podcasts require that learning activities are designed for reflection and podcasts used to scaffold the reflection process.
The international visibility of South African IS research : an author-affiliation analysis in the top-ranked IS-centric journalsSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 14 –20 (2008)More Less
Information systems (IS) has a well-known tradition of being multi-disciplinary. IS research has been published in a diversity of outlets. As the discipline has evolved, there have been several scientometric studies aimed at identifying and ranking a core set of high quality IS-centric journals. This effort has spawned additional investigations aimed at profiling IS research in different regions and countries across the globe. The purpose of this study is to add to the body of knowledge in this domain by investigating the international visibility of South African IS research. The scope of the study was limited to investigating journal publications. The approach used was to identify from the literature a basket of IS-centric journals ranked as the top set in the field. The affiliations of authors in these journals for the period 2003 to 2007 were examined, and South African-authored publications identified. The analysis revealed that South African-affiliated authors have published in only a small portion of these IS-centric journals. The total number of articles published has also been small. These findings may explain why South African IS research has been perceived as largely unknown by the international IS academic community. This is despite numerous publications in outlets outside of the commonly ranked IS-centric journal set. If South African IS researchers are to increase international visibility, one strategy is to explicitly target the commonly accepted top-ranked IS-centric journals. Other strategies for achieving this are proffered in this paper, and ideas for future research are put forward.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 21 –28 (2008)More Less
To cope with growing student numbers and high faculty-to-student ratios, most introductory Information Systems courses use Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) to examine large parts of the curriculum. An in-depth review of first year Information Systems examination papers across five South African universities revealed that the majority of these MCQ question papers test student recall of factual knowledge, with only a few questions going to the deeper level of conceptual understanding OR application. This paper further reports on work done towards developing MCQs that allow for both the development and assessment of deeper levels of cognitive ability (as defined in Bloom's Taxonomy). Results suggest that carefully constructed MCQ's have the potential to enable valid and reliable assessment of depth of understanding by information systems students whilst supporting manageability through automated marking.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 29 –37 (2008)More Less
Higher education in South Africa has been the scene for dramatic changes during the last fourteen years of the new democracy. The cleanly divided domains and roles of higher education institutions made way for a chaotic situation that was eventually resolved by the creation of three different kinds of universities. Universities of technology as previously vocational training institutions gained academic legitimacy with the title of university and the right to deliver postgraduate outputs. The problem that arises out of this new order is the claim that technology defines the uniqueness of a university of technology. The public image of the five universities of technology in South Africa is analysed in order to validate this claim.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 38 –46 (2008)More Less
This paper introduces the computer-aided instruction (CAI) tutorial Karnaugh, outlining its design, development and evaluation. Karnaugh is used for supplementary learning in the module Computer Systems: Fundamental Concepts.
E-learning applications require rigorous evaluation of their functionality, learning content and usability. In the case of Karnaugh, this was done in a participative action research approach over two years. Evaluation and reflection occurred in iterative cycles, followed by active responses in the form of revised designs, with the researcher-designer playing a participative role as Karnaugh evolved through five variants. Complementary usability evaluation methods were used, namely heuristic evaluation, end-user questionnaires and interviews. The evaluation criteria were based on an adaptation of Squires & Preeces' 'learning with software' heuristics.
The unexpected discovery of some flawed data provided lessons in questionnaire administration.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 47 –53 (2008)More Less
This paper highlights one of the barriers for implementing an educational technology policy at a higher education institution. As more courses use a Learning Management System (LMS), learning resources are electronic and an increasing number of students are using Notebook computers for accessing electronic resources and reading on the screen. However, there is a dichotomy between provision of electronic resources and students being allowed to use Notebooks during classes. This paper explores lecturers' ambivalence towards student use of Notebooks during classes and illustrates how such perceptions are becoming a barrier to successful implementation of an educational technology policy.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 54 –58 (2008)More Less
Students of programming need to master group work skills. This paper presents a model for group work in it classrooms based on literature and research done the past couple of years. The model emphasizes the importance of structuring small group work for effectiveness by ensuring that the basic elements of positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, interpersonal and social skills, and group processing are correctly applied. Assigning particular responsibilities to group members and assessing groups are also addressed. A description of the research methodology and data collection and analysis techniques to be used in the piloting of the model is provided. We describe the training workshops for teachers used, the actual teaching of the model in these teachers' classrooms, as well as future work envisioned. Finally, the importance of the study is justified and conclusions drawn.
Online Continuing Professional Development : tensions impacting on the reflective use of a mathematics-friendly forum environmentSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 59 –67 (2008)More Less
The Internet seems full of potential as a catalyst for the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of geographically dispersed teachers. Having developed a mathematics-friendly online discussion forum environment, we investigated the personal and situational tensions that impacted on the use of this forum environment as a reflective tool for the CPD of advantaged and disadvantaged mathematics teachers in the South Africa context of disparities. Using elements of Grounded Theory and Activity Theory in a Case study approach, the research identified various tensions that impacted on the use of the environment.
Exploring the impact of computer-mediated communication on interpersonal relationships : a tentative model using characteristics and behavioural outcomesSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 68 –75 (2008)More Less
Communication forms the basis for personal relationships but technology has changed the way people communicate. This research investigates the impact that computer-mediated communication (CMC) has had on interpersonal relationships using a combination of technology characteristics and behavioural outcomes. These factors are explored by means of a qualitative study using interview and discussion group data from student users of email, mobile phone, Instant Messaging (IM) and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). this study provides a first-cut model that identifies some of these key characteristics and behavioural outcomes of CMC and their impacts on interpersonal relationships among South Africans.
Source: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 76 –82 (2008)More Less
This paper describes the investigation process into teaching principles as applied in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Students in the Faculty of ICT at Tshwane University of Technology were requested to share their views on factors influencing successful teaching in this environment. This was compared to lecturers' views and also to generic teaching and learning principles as proposed in literature, utilizing grounded theory and relational database concepts. A list of principles was created which can be utilized to evaluate subjects, pinpoint problem areas and guide lecturers in presenting subjects in ICT.
Author Lydia PalmerSource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 83 –86 (2008)More Less
The IS Honours course in the Department of Information Systems at the University has a strong bias towards Information Systems Development. Systems Analysis, Design and Implementation are an integral part of the curriculum. Software testing as a stand-alone module, however, has not been included in the curriculum. It is often seen as the pariah of Systems Development.
This paper briefly investigates the reasons for including a Software Testing Module in 2008, and the proposed Software Testing curriculum for Information Systems students. The paper then continues to cover the manner in which Software Testing is introduced to the students at the Information Systems Honours level and how it will be taught, practiced and assessed.
Teaching the theory of formal languages and automata in the Computer Science undergraduate curriculumAuthor Nelishia PillaySource: South African Computer Journal 12, pp 87 –94 (2008)More Less
The theory of formal languages and automata form an essential component of the undergraduate Computer Science curriculum both nationally and internationally. This paper reports on the experiences of teaching the theory of formal languages and automata at universities worldwide. The paper discusses how this area is incorporated into the Computer Science undergraduate curriculum, teaching and learning difficulties generally encountered, different teaching methodologies employed and teaching and learning aids. The paper also identifies further areas of research into improving the teaching and learning of the theory of formal languages and automata.