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PhICER 2006

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The Second International Workshop on Phenomenography in Computing Education Research


Location: University of Kent, Canterbury, UK,

Date: Sept 11 - 12, 2006. The workshop will take place directly following ICER 2006 - The Second International Computing Education Research Workshop

Organisers: Anders Berglund and Anna Eckerdal, Uppsala University, Uppsala Sweden.

The topic: As teachers and researchers, we aim to improve education in computing. To reach this aim, it is essential to understand how our colleagues and students understand computing concepts and how they reason about teaching and learning. Until recently, most computing education literature has comprised of anecdotal accounts of teachers´ innovations. In that literature, theories of education have been either informal or implicit. Now, the computing education literature is changing, with greater recognition of the importance of research approaches with theoretical underpinnings. The application of theory allows for generalisations of experimental results, it invites comparison between experiments, methods, and results, and it makes the limits of the research visible.

Phenomenography is one research approach with theoretical underpinnings. Phenomenography has proven successful as a research approach in studies of learning of computing concepts in higher education, including networking protocols (Berglund, 2005), programming (Booth, 1992; Bruce et al., 2004), the conceptualization of information systems (Cope, 2000), the concepts of object and class (Eckerdal, 2005) and data structures (Lister et al., 2004).

Phenomenography aims to reveal the different ways in which something (e.g. a computing concept) is experienced, perceived, or understood among students and/or teachers (Marton & Booth, 1997). With such an aim, the relation between the student and/or teacher and the "something" is the focus of the researcher´s analysis. The outcome, which consists of a description of the different ways in which the concept under investigation is understood, can be used as a tool for enhancing education.

This workshop aims at developing the use of phenomenography in computing education research in two ways. Firstly, the workshop participants will jointly analyze data concerning key issues in computing education research and together write a report that offers new insights on aspects of the teaching and learning of computing. Secondly, the benefits and limitations of phenomenography as an approach in computing education research will be discussed and offered to the community.

The workshop: Applications are welcome from teachers, researchers, and PhD students within the field of computing, who have an interest in developing qualitative, and particularly phenomenographic, research as a tool for enhancing education in computing. We anticipate a mix of participants, from active researchers in phenomenography to people who have no prior experience of qualitative research. The intent of the workshop is to learn phenomenography by doing it, in a lively exchange of ideas and experiences.

Prior to the workshop, accepted participants can expect to interview a colleague about their teaching, transcribe the interview, and perform some preliminary analysis. During and after the workshop, participants can expect to contribute to the writing of a report.

Applications: Deadline for application is August 10, 2006. To aid planning for the workshop, however, applications should be submitted as soon as possible. There is an upper limit on the number of workshop attendees, and once the quota is fileld no more applications can be considered.The application should consist of contact information as well as half a page describing the applicants prior experience of computing education research and his/her motives for applying to the workshop. Participants will need to satisfy the ethical clearance (IRB) procedures of their home institution. Applications should be submitted by email to

Practical issues: The workshop will be held close to the ICER conference site. We recommend the participants to stay at the same accomodation during the conference and the workshop. It is possible to book accomodation for both events when registrering to the conference.

Details about the exact location of the conference will be mailed to the participants.

No fee is charged for the workshop, but the participants are expected to pay their own costs for food and accommodation during the workshop.

For further information, contact:

Anders Berglund
Department of Information Technology,
Uppsala University,
P.O. Box 337
SE-75105 Uppsala

Tel +46 (70) 425 02 11

Updated  2010-12-14 14:56:51 by Arnold Pears.