Into the Heat of the Debate : Simulating a Program Committee Within Computer Science Education

Maesschalck, Sam and Bradbury, Matthew and Giotsas, Vasileios (2023) Into the Heat of the Debate : Simulating a Program Committee Within Computer Science Education. In: IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) :. IEEE. ISBN 9788350399431

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There are many teaching strategies in higher education; one of these is discussion-based teaching which aims to stimulate conversation and peer learning. Although this teaching strategy has many benefits for students, such as learning how to argue, it has not gained much traction in STEM subjects like Computer Science. However, soft skills have become increasingly important within these fields. A focus when recruiting for roles is not only on hard skills such as programming but also on the ability to communicate well with stakeholders. This paper explores and evaluates an approach to incorporate discussion-based teaching within computer science education, focusing on teaching hard and soft skills. To achieve this, we organised an emulated program committee type of activity for MSc students at our university. We evaluated the activity by asking the students to complete a survey and followed this up by interviewing several students to gather more in-depth reactions from the cohort. The results show that students feel they learnt about the topics tackled within the papers we have chosen, gained more confidence to tackle paper writing, understood the requirements of academic work, and improved their soft skills such as academic writing. The interviews show that students thoroughly enjoyed the activity and are keen to have more interactive discussion sessions like this.

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13 Feb 2023 16:00
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10 Jun 2024 23:45