A case study in refactoring computer science education

  • Deirdre Lawless

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


This research study explored beliefs about and conceptions of teaching and learning held by computer science lecturers in a single school of computer science in a third level educational institute in Ireland. The study first investigated how lecturers considered their practice to align or diverge from their beliefs and conceptions and the adjustments they chose to make when engaged in disciplined, reflective practice. A phenomenographical research approach was adopted in this two-phase research study. The first phase conducted interviews with fifteen participants and analysis of these interviews identified variation across the themes of personal epistemology, epistemology of computer science, conception of teaching and learning and practice of teaching and learning. During the second phase six participants actively reflected on the alignment between their conceptions of teaching and learning and their practice, making minor adjustments to, or refactoring, their practice as a result of this reflection. The major outcome of this study is the development of three distinct personas each of which encapsulates the variations found in participants beliefs about, conceptions and practice of teaching and learning in the discipline of computer science.
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorWilliam McClune (Supervisor) & James Nelson (Supervisor)


  • Computer science education
  • conceptions of teaching
  • conceptions of learning

Cite this