South African Computer Journal - Volume 2010, Issue 45, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 2010, Issue 45, 2010
Author Lucas VenterSource: South African Computer Journal 2010 (2010)More Less
As was announced in SACJ44, the AGM of SAICSIT decided that as from issue 45, SACJ will only be published online as an open-source journal. No printed copy of SACJ will be produced. This form of publication is not new. In fact, many journals have for a long time been published in this format. For journals in Computing, this is now one of the standards, if not the norm.
Learner inclinations to study Computer Science or Information Systems at tertiary level : research articleSource: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 3 –10 (2010)More Less
After the so-called "dot-com crash" of the Internet in the early 2000s, tertiary level student enrolments in IT-related subjects began to experience a significant decline both in international countries and South Africa. The paper replicates research done in the Western Cape, South Africa, by Seymour et al. (2005) , in which grade 12 learner inclinations to study Computer Science (CS) and Information Systems (IS) at tertiary level were analysed and underlying factors affecting their interest in the subjects were determined. The study analyses the "misguided" perceptions that learners and students have of these subjects; the implications of the decline in enrolments on students, educational sectors and industry; and determines a set of underlying factors that influence learners in their attitudes toward further degrees in IT, starting from the secondary level of education. The research compares South African Eastern Cape learner perceptions with those from the Western Cape study and establishes three to four years later, that the reasons behind the decline in IT enrolments are still influenced by an underlying demographic and digital divide.
An exploration of deaf telecommunication processes and associated social issues in South Africa : research articleSource: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 11 –17 (2010)More Less
This paper presents the results of an exploratory investigation into telecommunications practices and challenges among the Deaf in South Africa. Telecommunication products like cell phones, TTY's, sMessage terminals, e-mail, fax messaging, instant messaging (IM) were some of the technologies investigated. The research shows that the Deaf considers IM as the most successful technology for both business and social communication. E-mail was rated most often used for business communication, where as e-mail and SMS were rated most used for social communication. The main drawbacks experienced by deaf users of telecommunications technologies related to connecting with and understanding of people. The research findings indicate that the Deaf would like to see heightened public awareness of deafness and its challenges in telecommunication.
Source: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 18 –25 (2010)More Less
Spatial data is a key resource for the development of a nation. There is a lot of economic potential that is locked away in spatial data collections and this potential is realised by making the data widely available. Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) provide a platform for spatial data users, producers and those that manage it, to distribute the data more efficiently. Governments all over the world are realising the value of National Spatial Data Infrastructures (NSDI), and therefore making major investments to establish them. However, in Africa, implementation of formal NSDI is being done at a seemingly slow pace. This paper presents an assessment of the status of NSDI activity in Africa. 29 countries were used in the survey and an assessment was made per region (South, West, East, North and Central Africa). The results show that generally, formal NSDI activity in most African countries is still in its infancy. The paper also gives recommendations of possible measures that can be taken to foster SDI implementation on the continent. In addition, it highlights potential areas for further SDI research.
Effectiveness of heuristic evaluation in usability evaluation of e-learning applications in higher education : research articleSource: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 26 –39 (2010)More Less
The Internet, World Wide Web (WWW) and e-learning are contributing to new forms of teaching and learning. Such environments should be designed and evaluated in effective ways, considering both usability- and pedagogical issues. The selection of usability evaluation methods (UEMs) is influenced by the cost of a methods and its effectiveness in addressing users' issues. The issue of usability is vital in e-learning, where students cannot begin to learn unless they can first use the application. Heuristic evaluation (HE) remains the most widely-used usability evaluation method. This paper describes meta-evaluation research that investigated an HE of a web-based learning (WBL) application. The evaluations were based on a synthesised framework of criteria, related to usability and learning within WBL environments. HE was found to be effective in terms of the number and nature of problems identified in the target application by a complementary team of experienced experts. The findings correspond closely with those of a survey among learners.
Author John A. Van Der PollSource: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 40 –52 (2010)More Less
An integration of traditional verification techniques and formal specifications in software engineering is presented. Advocates of such techniques claim that mathematical formalisms allow them to produce quality, verifiably correct, or at least highly dependable software and that the testing and maintenance phases are shortened. Critics on the other hand maintain that software formalisms are hard to master, tedious to use and not well suited for the fast turnaround times demanded by industry. In this paper some popular formalisms and the advantages of using these during the early phases of the software development life cycle are presented. Employing the Floyd-Hoare verification principles during the formal specification phase facilitates reasoning about the properties of a specification. Some observations that may help to alleviate the formal-methods controversy are established and a number of formal methods successes is presented. Possible conditions for an increased acceptance of formalisms in software development are discussed.
The effects of professional and pedagogical program development environments on novice programmer perceptions : research articleSource: South African Computer Journal 2010, pp 53 –58 (2010)More Less
Novice programmers generally have difficulty learning to program and one of the problems contributing towards this is the program development environment used at tertiary institutions. A number of pedagogical program development environments have been developed specifically for novice programmers, but these have not been compared experimentally with professional program development environments. A study was conducted that compared the perceptions of novice programmers using a representative professional program development environment to a pedagogical program development environment during an Introductory Programming module at a tertiary institution. It was found that the use of a pedagogical program development environment had a positive effect on the feelings of achievement and learning while learning to program, while the perceived ease of using the program development environment and the perceived difficulty of practical assignments were not affected.