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[Colloquium] Using fine-grained code and fine-grained interviews to understand how electrical engineers learn to program

March 20, 2012

Watch Colloquium: 

M4V file (752 MB)

  • Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 
  • Time: 11:00 am — 12:15 pm 
  • Place: Mechanical Engineering 218

Brian Danielak
University of Maryland, College Park 

Students can take remarkably different paths toward the development of design knowledge and practice. Using data from a study of an introductory programming course for electrical engineers, we investigate how students learn elements of design in the course, and how their code (and the process by which they generate it) reflects what they’re learning about design. Data are coordinated across clinical interviews, ethnographic observation, and fine-grained evolution of students’ code, exploring the question of what it means to “know” design practices common to programming, such as functional abstraction and hierarchical decomposition.

 

Bio: Brian Danielak is currently a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Science Education Research at the University of Maryland. At the moment, he studies how university engineering students engage in mathematical and physical sensemaking in their courses. He works under Ayush Gupta, and his advisor Andy Elby. His research interests include mathematical sensemaking and symbolic reasoning, representational competency in scientific argumentation, students’ epistemological beliefs in science and mathematics, and interplays of emotion, cognition, and student epistemology. He graduated from the University of Buffalo Honors Program, with degrees in Chemistry (BA, 2007) and English (BA, 2007). While there, he worked as an undergraduate research fellow with Kenneth Takeuchi. He also completed an Undergraduate Honors Thesis on the relationships between narrative and science under the direction of Robert Daly.