Pedagogy and Design of Online Learning Environment in Computer Science Education for High Schools

Pedagogy and Design of Online Learning Environment in Computer Science Education for High Schools

Ebenezer Anohah (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/IJOPCD.2016070104
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This paper reviews literature about evolving and classical theories to understand pedagogical assumptions that inform concept of instructional strategy framework in optimizing online computer science education for high schools. Exploring these areas of research is valuable for understanding instructional practices that are needed for computer science educators to implement K-12 online computer science education. The study reveals that for students to achieve varying needs in computer science education, an online learning environment or management systems should adopt multiple pedagogical approaches. The researcher assertion is that, creating learning environment or augmenting learning management systems with plugins based on these pedagogical assumptions should for instance feature automatic feedback on programming exercises, visualization of algorithms and representation of concepts in animations or physical activities which are extremely important to incorporate computing principles in online education for K-12 students.
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The online studies in this paper refer to web based instruction instead of face to face instruction in computer science education at high schools. Literature refers to this type of learning as virtual learning or e-learning (Mishra, 2002). There are overwhelming supports for didactics in online computer science education. Hubwieser (2012) proposes that high school students should patronize computer science courses in their curriculums but this is not the case in all countries around the world. Consequently, Riddle (2012) advocates supplementing high schools curriculums with online computer science courses. At least developing countries are yet to witness the resurgence of computer science education for high schools. Several educators believe that online learning would lead to better teaching and learning outcomes (Young, 2004). Bower (2007) provided positive recommendations for teaching computing online. According to McDonald et al. (2004) online courses offer computer science students the relevant skills for their future careers. Online computer science courses have become increasingly popular amongst students who have tight schedules or geographically located from physical campuses of offering institutions (Palloff & Pratt, 1999). Student taking online courses learn as much as those in the classroom (McCloud, 2004). Most importantly, an introduction of online computer science courses in high schools, strategically attract students for computing education in higher education (Woszczynski, 2006). There is also evidence that having done programming in high school enables students to cope with a computer science degree program (Morrison et al., 2001). The offer of online courses for computer science students is easier than for students in other disciplines with a reason that most computer science students are comfortable with computers and web sites (McDonald et al., 2004). However, lack of pedagogical principles for online instruction may translate to ineffective learning experience for learners (Dringus et al., 1999). Online learning environment is defined as pedagogically meaningful information space where learning takes place at any time and any place (Dringus et al., 1999). Pedagogy also connects sets of dialogue between theory and practice, as well as learning and teaching and draws consciously on these traditions (Beetham et al., 2013). Effective online learning environments draw from instructional principles that are appropriate to the needs of the target group of students (Kuzu et al., 2010). Designing bridges theory and practices, such that it encompasses set of contextualized matters that are constantly adapting to circumstances (Beetham, et al., 2013). The current study presents evidence from literature aimed at understanding theoretical perspectives for using learning management systems or designing online learning environment in computer science education. To achieve these general objectives, the paper is subdivided into the following specific objectives: (a) Identify of theoretical and pedagogical assumptions for online computer science education (b) Propose instructional strategy framework that guides implementation of online learning environment in computer science education.

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