Paul Denny, Brett Becker, Michelle Craig, Piotr Banaszkiewicz, and I were very pleased to receive notice last week that ICER 2019 has accepted our paper exploring the questions people would most like computing education researchers to answer. To recap:

  1. We asked one group of people what questions they would most like answered, then
  2. grouped and collated those questions, and
  3. asked a larger group of people how important or unimportant they thought those questions were.

We also asked respondents about their backgrounds and whether they teach and/or do research. The most surprising finding was how little overlap there was between the interests of people who do research and the interests of people who don’t:

Most Interesting to Researchers Most Interesting to Non-Researchers
1. What fundamental programming concepts are the most challenging for students? How and when is it best to give students feedback on their code to improve learning?
2. What teaching strategies are most effective when dealing with a wide range of prior experience in introductory programming classes? What kinds of programming exercises are most effective when teaching students Computer Science?
3. What affects students' ability to generalize from simple programming examples? What are the relative merits of project-based learning, lecturing, and active learning for students learning computing?
4. What teaching practices are most effective for teaching computing to children? What is the most effective way to provide feedback to students in programming classes?
5. What kinds of problems do students in programming classes find most engaging? What do people find most difficult when breaking problems down into smaller tasks while programming?
6. What are the most effective ways to teach programming to various groups? What are the key concepts that students need to understand in introductory computing classes?
7. What are the most effective ways to scale computing education to reach the general student population? What are the most effective ways to develop computing competency among students in non-computing disciplines?
8. What is the best order in which to teach basic computing concepts and skills?

(The imbalance in numbers is an artefact of how we did the analysis.) We will post a preprint as soon as we’ve addressed the reviewers’ comments; if you are coming to Toronto for the conference, please give me a shout—I’d be happy to show you around my adopted home town.