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Public defence in Computer Science, M.Sc. (Tech) Aleksi Lukkarinen

Advances in Teaching Event-driven Programming
Doctor's hat

Title of the doctoral thesis: Teaching Event-driven Programming for Novice Programmers: Challenges and Advances

Computer applications that receive information about external events and produce responses to them are common in the modern society. Such applications include web server software, many services used through Internet browsers, as well as most graphical user interfaces in devices from mobile phones and home appliances to general-purpose computers and industrial applications. The development of such applications is often called event-driven programming (EDP). Although the importance of event-driven applications in the society is continuously increasing and understanding how to develop them is important for the software engineer, only a little published experimental research has been primarily targeted at teaching and learning EDP. This dissertation addresses this research gap regarding introductory programming education.

The dissertation has two major parts, of which the first one addresses understanding EDP. As an introduction, it reflects on the difficulty of defining the term event-driven programming and continues by presenting a mapping review regarding published research on teaching and learning EDP. From there, it proceeds to explore students’ perceptions of concepts such as a button, an event, and an event handler. The related research analyzed students’ answers and revealed fundamental misunderstandings regarding EDP and user interfaces. Based on them, the dissertation offers practical suggestions for improving the teaching practice.

The second major part of the dissertation addresses teaching EDP from two perspectives. First, it explores contextualization of teaching—in other words, teaching theoretical concepts from the viewpoint of practical application areas that hopefully are interesting for the students. Second, it presents a prototype of a tool that can be used for visualizing high-level concepts in many online learning materials. This tool supports logging users’ actions and plays well together with version control systems. In addition, its learning curve is relatively low for teachers of computer science.

Opponent: Associate Professor Petri Ihantola, University of Helsinki, Finland

Custos: Professor Lauri Malmi, Aalto University School of Science, Department of Computer Science

Contact details of the doctoral student: [email protected]

The public defence will be organised on campus (Konemiehentie 2, lecture hall T2).

The thesis is publicly displayed 10 days before the defence in the publication archive Aaltodoc of Aalto University. 

Electronic thesis

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