Open Pedagogy in Computer Science

The LWTech Open For Learning initiative
LWTech Open For Learning

Recently, my school hired a librarian to focus on Open Education Resources (OER).  The librarian is available as a technology coach to any faculty to help explore OER content for their subject area.  The school has used the tagline ‘Open for Learning’ for the OER initiative.  As part of my exploration of the ISTE Standards for Coaches, I wanted to find an effective way to engage with this librarian and the school’s OER team to help with developing new material for my courses.

The OER team at my school recently held a conference on Open Education Resources (OER) to educate faculty about open teaching resources for community colleges.  The conference agenda was as follows:

  • A Brief Introduction to Open Education
  • Finding, Evaluating, and Using Openly Licensed Materials
  • Implementing Open Pedagogy
  • Integrating Open and Freely Available Resources

The conference gave me a great opportunity to engage with colleagues at my school as well as research OER content for my courses on SQL, Java, and C# programming.  With guidance from my librarians, I found the following resources on the OER commons web site:

There is a lot of material behind these links – and a good amount of work for me to figure how best to integrate the resources into my courses.  I decided to start small, and focus on a single lesson plan and/or assignment.  My mobile programming course (CSD 230) uses Android Studio to build applications for Android mobile devices – phone or tablet.  All of the code in Android Studio is written in the Java programming language, and it is assumed in Chapter 1 that the student is proficient in Java programming.

The prerequisite for the CSD 230 course is the CS 143 Computer Science II Java course.  However, some students took CS 143 sometime in the past and do not remember how to program in Java.  I want to use content from OER to offer students a way to get up to speed with their Java skills before diving into programming Android devices.  I also want the students to produce quizzes or assignments that can be used in future courses as a Java refresher.

The Java Tutorial listed above is a perfect tool to help students brush-up on their Java programming skills.  The tutorial allows the students to run Java code in a browser-based development environment.

An example of running code in the Java Tutorial
Java Tutorial running code

If students feel that they are familiar with a particular topic, then can use the test exercise to quiz themselves on various topics.  If they struggle with any exercise, they can go back to the main lesson plan and follow the lesson plan for a specific Java topic.

Example of a test exercise in the Java Tutorial
Java Test Exercises

I plan on sharing the lesson plan for this assignment with my OER librarian as well as other instructors at my school.  I will then use the feedback from these ‘coaches’ to improve my courses.  If all goes well, I will post the module to Canvas for other instructors to review and make improvements and use the new course in the Fall quarter of the next academic year.


2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Nat, familiarity with software development OERs will be helpful within your course, and will also be useful to your students once they are working and have to brush up on a language or learn a new one. You’re teaching them how to help themselves once they’re out!

  2. Nat, I appreciate the way you embrace your team and their input/ feedback. I think OERs sound like a great way to provide new material for your students. I am not too farmiliar with OERs but it sounds like they are starting to become more mainstream, way to stay fresh and relevant for your students!

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