Leveraging the ADJ Framework to Improve Real-World Problem-Solving Skills in Computing Courses

Ruben Acuña, Ajay Bansal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Problem solving is a necessary skill for computing students to succeed in industry. Students commonly find it difficult to apply their technical skills in solving real-world problems, which can be addressed by the inclusion and scaffolding of open-ended and ill-defined problems in formative computing courses. An Analysis, Design, and Justification (ADJ) based framework was recently developed to enable this goal. The ADJ framework consists of learning outcomes, a type of problem, and a three-step problem-solving process. ADJ supports instruction in environments with constraints (such as large classes, and heterogeneous student ability) that are difficult to support with other approaches (such as Problem-Based Learning). In this paper, we report the experience and impact of leveraging the ADJ framework to develop real-world problem-solving skills in the context of a formative computing course. The ADJ framework was enacted in a class on operating-systems taught at the junior level. In the class, students were taught the concepts of the ADJ framework using a series of discussion activities, and then asked to apply it to generate solutions to three problem sets. The problem sets contained problems on topic areas covered by other assessments in the course but used open-ended and ill-defined problems. Assessments showed that students had different performance on existing (well-defined) problems as opposed to the real-world style problems of ADJ. The ADJ assessments provided a step towards better evaluation of problem-solving ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationITiCSE 2021 - Proceedings of the 26th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages39-45
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450382144
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2021
Event26th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2021 - Virtual, Online, Germany
Duration: Jun 26 2021Jul 1 2021

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE
ISSN (Print)1942-647X

Conference

Conference26th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE 2021
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityVirtual, Online
Period6/26/217/1/21

Keywords

  • computing education
  • problem-based learning
  • problem-solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Education

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