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Student perception of academic writing skills activities in a traditional programming course

Computers & Education Volume 58, Number 4, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Employers of computing graduates have high expectations of graduates in terms of soft skills, the most desirable of these being communication skills. Not only must the graduates exhibit writing skills, but they are expected to be highly proficient therein. The consequence of this expectation is not only performance pressure exerted on the graduate, but also the laying down of a challenge at the door of computing instructors to encourage and instil successfully the art of writing in the graduate.Varied and numerous initiatives have been launched in the computing discipline to address this particular challenge over the past few decades. Despite documented success on the many experiences of incorporating writing into the computing discipline, the fact is that the challenge is as relevant today as it was in the 1980s. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that agreement is yet to be reached on exactly how to integrate successfully writing skills into traditional computing curricula, thereby familiarising computing students with an essential activity of their chosen profession. Furthermore, the reporting of successful experiences tends to focus on the application of a variety of teaching strategies, is predominantly based on the experiences of instructors and is dominated by a lack of quantifiable results.This apparent lack of sufficient empirical evidence prompted a rigorous investigation into the perceived benefits of the integration of writing skills activities into a traditional intermediary level programming course. The main aim of the study is to measure the perceived benefit of each of a number of academic writing interventions, facilitated to skill students appropriately in the art of writing for the computing discipline. Each intervention is designed to support particular principles of academic writing. The ultimate outcome of the study is a survey which allows student participants to measure the perceived benefit-impact of each intervention.The qualitative and quantitative findings of this study suggest that students perceive most of the commonly used academic writing activities as beneficial in the construction of a report. What is apparent, however, is that those activities that are most frequently used by instructors are not necessarily perceived by students as being the most useful activities.


Cilliers, C.B. (2012). Student perception of academic writing skills activities in a traditional programming course. Computers & Education, 58(4), 1028-1041. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved April 1, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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