Introducing a framework for improving competitive programming education for the Cyprus Olympiad in Informatics

Eracleous, Panayiotis (2022) Introducing a framework for improving competitive programming education for the Cyprus Olympiad in Informatics. DProf thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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The purpose of the study is to empower the next generation of Computer Science experts by helping high school students comprehend complex programming concepts and solve challenging tasks in programming competitions. The research aims to enhance the pedagogy and the teaching practice of competitive programming education by introducing and evaluating a framework as a training system and utilising a code-evaluation platform within the Cyprus Olympiad in Informatics (COI) (Eracleous et al., 2019). The proposed COI framework intends to redefine the teaching and learning processes within its discipline. The research focuses on four critical pillars: the pedagogical model of a learning community, the instructional strategy of Problem-Based Learning (PBL), mental models and strategies, and online technologies. In addition, the project introduces Michanicos, a code-evaluation platform that enables real-time code assessment and facilitates the application of the framework’s scope in practice.

The research project reports on the empirical evaluation of the COI framework in the context of the COI course that selects and prepares the Cypriot delegations for international competitions. I used a constructivist approach with a combination of action research and mixed-methods assessment. The data was collected within a year from 125 participants using interviews, questionnaires and performance data. The research project has provided evidence that the COI framework is a reliable pedagogical method that supports students to increase their programming abilities and enables Cypriot delegations to improve their results in international competitions.

The research project provides three distinctive contributions to knowledge: (a) the identified threshold concepts of competitive programming, (b) the methodology for identifying threshold concepts, (c) the COI framework offers methods of inquiry to assess student performance in the liminal space by using programming tasks on Michanicos. The project has the potential to inform theory and practice in competitive programming education. Furthermore, it provides a method that can produce consistent results in international competitions by supporting educators and students in their preparation and threshold concepts researchers in their quest for unlocking new ways of thinking.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 36613
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 10:06
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:34

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