This studentship is part of UWS Immersive, a multi-disciplinary university wide project that explores the potential of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies and experiences to transform the way UWS teaches, conducts research and engages with society.
New programming students often struggle to write code, partly because it requires them to change their use of the written word from linear communication to the creation of sequences of operations that are often nested within more complex functional structures. This written barrier can hinder the conceptual acquisition of basic programming concepts (e.g. data structures, functions, events) and thus visual aids are often employed to help when teaching programming. Existing work has looked at the use of gamification to teach coding, helping learners to develop metacognitive strategies for learning that are built around low stakes competition as a means of attaining basic conceptual knowledge and skills. Crosswords, missing word games and jigsaw puzzles can assist in closing the linguistic gap, but the conceptual linkages between coding processes are less suited to these methods.
This project seeks to investigate the use of immersive visual and audio stimuli with simple gamification techniques, to better convey basic programming concepts prior to their translation into written instructions. Functional elements will be represented using visual communication concepts (e.g. procedure/concepts/facts) whilst feedback will be provided using a combination of speech and sonification alerts. In so doing, a self-directed learning path will be constructed based on a simple game narrative (inventory and progression) wherein the mechanics will be mapped to standard game controllers to reduce the impact of the interface on the learning tasks involved.
As part of the UWS online application, candidates will be asked to submit a proposal, please submit a personal statement in place of the proposal.
UWS is an inspiring, vibrant place to study with a growing research community; an important aspect of which is its outstanding and committed research students. The studentship offers an annual stipend of £14, 553 per annum for three years and payment of tuition fees. Funding will be considered as part of a competitive round. Studentships are open to Home/EU candidates with a first degree in a relevant discipline. Non-EU students can apply, but will not receive the stipend and will be required to pay fees. Candidates must be available to commence their studies 1st October 2018.