Coding for non-Computer Scientists: Pedagogies for interdisciplinary participation
Abstract: Coding is increasingly seen as a valuable subject to learn, with initiatives to promote the teaching of coding underpinned by three main rationales: employability, interdisciplinary problem solving and informed citizenship. These highlight the need for courses which teach more than just functional skills. To be meaningful, the learning of coding needs to be contextualized more holistically and focus on the development of computational thinking (CT) skills that are important for wider interdisciplinary participation. In this paper, we propose a participation focused pedagogical approach for an Institute of Coding Summer School, whose purpose is to engage non-Computer Science students in learning the basics of coding, data analytics and artificial intelligence. Drawing on data from questionnaires, interviews, and observations we identify best practices and articulate these within a three-dimensional conceptual framework for CT. Our findings describe the skills in relation to coding these students think will have authentic, real-world value. We then explore in more detail certain pedagogical strategies used to create contextualised and real-world learning experiences alongside the value of collaborative coding. We conclude by considering the wider potential application of our findings to other computing education contexts.