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An analysis of user engagement in relation to computing workshop activities.

Menzies, Rachel; Crabb, Michael; Herron, Daniel; Petrie, Karen; Stewart, Craig; Zarb, Mark


Rachel Menzies

Michael Crabb

Daniel Herron

Karen Petrie

Craig Stewart

Mark Zarb


Computing is now one of the fastest growing fields of employment, with a large bias placed on developing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in schools. However, due to the fast pace of technology development, it is increasingly difficult for schools to keep up with the latest computing methodologies. A possible solution is the use of university outreach programmes, whereby local universities can provide training workshops on areas that can be challenging for schools to implement. This can be problematic, as there is a perceived lack of interest in the methods used to interact with secondary school pupils on a university level. This paper introduces a week long 'Easter Computing School', comprising of five workshop sessions on different topics. These sessions were analysed in terms of user engagement, to better understand aspects that are important to secondary school pupils. It was found that a combination of theory and interactive workshop sessions can provide the highest levels of engagement and their use is encouraged in future workshop design.

Start Date Mar 4, 2015
Publication Date Mar 7, 2015
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery
Pages 469-474
Institution Citation MENZIES, R., CRABB, M., HERRON, D., PETRIE, K., STEWART, C. and ZARB, M. 2015. An analysis of user engagement in relation to computing workshop activities. In Proceedings of the 46th Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Technical symposium on computer science education (SIGCSE'15), 4-7 March 2015, Kansas City, USA. New York: ACM [online], pages 469-474. Available from:
Keywords Summer school; User engagement; Outreach


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