What do you think computer science is?
Here are some (paraphrased) points from his dissertation that I found particularly interesting:
- There were three main conceptions of CS among students (with the percentage that held it):
- Programming is central, with other subfields in supporting roles (41%)
- Broad view: CS consists of many computing-related subfields (27%)
- Theory: CS as the mathematical study of algorithms (8%)
- As ever, there is still a deep tension between the programming and implementation-centric and algorithms and theory-centric view of CS. Theory still has a PR problem. “Many students did not understand the purpose of CS theory, and a few left it out of their description of CS entirely.”
- At the high-school level, application use was conflated with CS. E.g. believing that a CS degree could be used for a Photoshop job.
- Surprisingly, misconceptions about CS did not change long-term educational decisions, which were based on more immediate experiences like whether a course was enjoyable.