Teaching Algorithms and Data Structures--A Tale of Two Approaches
In Computing Science, Algorithms and Data Structures (ADS) are fundamental as they give learners a solid foundation in programming. ADS require abstract thinking and problem-solving abilities from students instead of memorisation – of formula or procedures, for example - without a clear understanding of the concepts. This paper reveals how master’s students (n = 35) perceived and experienced the different activities used to teach ADS in traditional lecture and flipped classroom environments. Results showed that the individual activities that scored higher were problem-solving and peer discussion in the flipped classroom. Regardless of the teaching approach, many students did not access the prior preparation teaching material mainly due to the lack of time. Findings also highlight the importance of communicating the intentions and pedagogical goals better. Findings have wider implication for practitioners facing the same challenges. It is hoped that the experiences reported in this paper can help practitioners to understand better the benefits and pitfalls that could emerge when converting an ADS class or similar to the flipped model.