Doctoral Consortium Application
Department of Computer Systems
S-754 42 Uppsala
Phone: +46 18 4713160
Fax: +46 18 550225
Date of graduation
A wild guess: May 28, 2001.
Short description of my research
I'm director of undergraduate education at the Department of Computer
Systems (DoCS). I believe that my research might be best described in the
context of DoCS, since we have started a group around Computer Science
Education Research at the department and I am involved in most of the
Our research is aimed towards the study, the development, and the improvement
of undergraduate education in Computer Science and related fields through
the use of scientific methods. The goals are pragmatic: the students' learning
of Computer Science should become enhanced, their interest in CS encouraged,
their study habits improved, as well as us becoming better at composing
CS Ed research in DoCS
For this context, the most interesting projects at DoCS are:
An overview of one project:
Runestone The International student cooperation in project form (called
Runestone) project that just started with me as director is a project that
is likely to directly contribute to my PhD research. This project will
run for three years and can be shortly described as follows:
- Evaluation of the pedagogical effects of personal portable computers
for students in Information Technology. This is an example of how we hopefully
can improve the learning of our students by providing better access to
computing. This will be an issue with several trade-offs (price, effect,
time, etc) and a good knowledge is essential in making good choices.
- Study of the effects of new examination methods in the engineering
education programme. This is another example of trying improve the learning
of our students.
- International student cooperation in project form. We will give a course
where our students make projects in cooperation with students at an American
- A seminar series in Computer Science Education. One of the questions
addressed in this project is if we can get the students to learn from each
- Planning of a survey of Computer Science Education in Sweden. There
is no use in reinventing, but learning about what others do and then adapting
to our conditions should be fruitful.
- A graduate course in Research Methods in Computer Science Education.
This project aims to introduce realistic experience of
international collaboration into our undergraduate Computer Science education
through joint project work between students in Sweden (Department of Computer
Systems (DoCS), Uppsala University) and the USA (Grand Valley State University,
Allendale, Michigan). Group projects (typically 5-10 students per team,
5-10 weeks per project) will be incorporated into local courses at the
home universities, and students will collaborate closely with their foreign
counterparts using appropriate communications and computing technology
to solve a given problem. The project's secondary aim is to identify effective
support structures for remote international collaboration, encompassing
strategies for communication, management, and technology use. The approach
will evolve over three years, with a pilot study in 1998, a full presentation
incorporating the international collaboration into the year four project
course in 1999, and continuing collaboration in 2000.
The project aims to use collaborative project work to
afford both personal and professional development for the students, by:
- facilitating international contact; - requiring students to accommodate
differences in cultural and educational backgrounds in order to form effective
international teams; - requiring them to overcome problems arising from
language and time zone differences; - maximizing opportunities for peer
learning; - exposing students to new techniques for communication, including
the use of IT in problem solving. Similarly, staff should benefit through
close collaboration with foreign universities, gaining from their counterparts'
experience, and from exploration of new teaching methods.
The project will examine and evaluate pedagogical and
technical solutions for collaboration between students at the two universities.
The experiences from this project should be generalizeable to other departments
and other institutions, and the evaluation will aim to distinguish between
domain-specific and general lessons, in order to make results more widely
accessible for others wishing to educate students for an international
My research interests can be described by the following list, governed
by a firm belief that we need to change and that change must be guided
Why do I want to participate in the consortium
I can see a number of good reasons to participate. The more selfish
are that I hope it will mean that I get a clearer focus on the road to
completing a Ph.D. in the area of computer science education, that I think
I will meet a number of interesting persons with similar interests that
I can learn from, that I expect to get excellent advice from the consortium
leaders and that I really think I belong in this community. The latter
is actually not completely selfish, since I do think I can contribute to
others in the area. [I also expect this to be fun :-) ]
- Different aspects of project-oriented courses, especially since project
courses are something we (DoCS) have used in different forms for a long
period. Part of this is to "measure" issues in the projects.
The Runestone project should provide opportunities for this.
- Issues around remote, international collaboration and cultural differences,
e.g., analysing the constituents of effective local collaboration and addressing
those for remote collaboration. Understand the role that culture plays
- How to create and encourage creativity among the students.
- Issues associated with composing education study programs and courses
within a department. The development of the new course IT&society is
an example of a related concrete activity.