PPIG 2018 - 29th Annual Workshop
Crafting Design Documents in First-Year CS Courses
Shanon Ernst, Jennifer Parham-Mocello
Abstract: Computer science, at its core, is about solving problems. The 'Carry out the Plan' portion of problem solving is often examined and emphasized in CS 1 and CS 2, forgetting to emphasize the other important aspects of the problem-solving process. This study focuses on the 'Devise a Plan' or design step of problem solving. Four terms of design data (2,797 designs) are examined to answer the question of whether syllabus detail impacts the crafting of design documents and what are the students' attitudes toward design. The results show that syllabus detail does impact the way students design and that students do value design when asked in a survey. These insights have implications of when and how design is taught and opens questions to how best assess design.