Perceptions of Computer Science among first year students at the University of the Witwatersrand

V.C. Galpin and I. Sanders

Technical Report TR-Wits-CS-2005-0, School of Computer Science, University of the Witwatersrand, 2005.


This technical report presents research that investigates how the perceptions of Computer Science students at the University of the Witwatersrand located in Johannesburg, South Africa change from the start of their first year courses to the end of these courses. The research is motivated by our innovative curriculum which aims to present a broad picture of Computer Science. Most of the students' opinions did not change strongly, or alternatively there were changes in both directions. Significant changes included more students becoming positive about their own understanding of Computer Science, fewer students believing that Computer Science and mathematics are closely related, more students becoming aware of female Computer Scientists, and students becoming less positive about working with computers. Although students became more positive about their understanding of Computer Science, this was not demonstrated in their answers to questions about their knowledge. The majority of students found the courses differed from their expectations, and commented that they were too theoretical. Gender differences were also considered. 

Full text - PDF

Back to Publications page