Methodologies for teaching new programming languages: A case study teaching LISP

Ann E Nicholson, Kym M Fraser

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    A primary aim of computing degrees is to produce graduates with general programming skills, the ,ability to program in several programming languages, and the ability to learn new programming languages. In this paper, two approaches to teaching a programming language are identified: "start small", where students begin writing small pieces of code from scratch; and "code provided", where students are given existing code to modify and extend. Each approach has been used for teaching introductory programming, and for teaching subsequent additional programming languages. This paper reports on a case study involving the teaching of LISP programming. The class was divided into two groups and given different assignments, in accordance with the two approaches, for their first two assignments. A common third assignment, and a LISP programming question on the exam: Were used to compare the impact of the assignment-based teaching methodology on student programming skills in the new programming language. The teaching methodology was found to have no significant effect on student programming outcomes, with performance in a core prerequisite programming subject being the only predictor. In addition to the presentation of the details of the study and the results, comments from student surveys, and ethical and logistical issues in undertaking such a study, are presented and discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Proceedings of the Second Australasian Conference on Computer Science Education
    Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
    Number of pages7
    VolumePart F129322
    ISBN (Electronic)0897919580
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 1997
    EventAustralasian Conference on Computer Science Education 1997 - Melborne, Australia
    Duration: 2 Jul 19974 Jul 1997
    Conference number: 2nd (Proceedings)


    ConferenceAustralasian Conference on Computer Science Education 1997
    Abbreviated titleACSE 1997
    Internet address

    Cite this