PPIG 2009 - 21st Annual Workshop
A Course Dedicated to Developing Algorithmic Problem-Solving Skills – Design and Experiment
Orna Muller, Bruria Haberman
Abstract: Undergraduate students often start their academic course of studies with inadequate learning and thinking skills. Our college has a policy of setting high standards and demands, while supporting students' learning in a variety of ways. In this paper we present a distinctive course designed to aid students develop algorithmic problem-solving skills. The course is taught in parallel to a CS1 course and elaborates on activities such as analogical reasoning, prototyping problems, comparison between alternative solutions and reflection on problem-solving processes. It is one of the courses offered at our institution aimed at strengthening general learning and thinking skills, in addition to the regular disciplinary curriculum. Feedback from participants in the course demonstrates a developed awareness and appreciation of abstract ideas beyond programming knowledge. Students report on acquiring problem-solving skills that enable them to cope with compound problems. Additionally, students claimed that they had broadened their repertoire of algorithmic ideas leading to more efficient and elegant solutions.