Contextualisation of Abstract Programming Concepts for First Year IT Students: A Reflective Study

  • Carin Venter
  • Tanja EksteenEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 963)


Higher education in South Africa must be transformed. An important dimension that can be addressed in the short term, yet will still have a significant positive impact, is the enrichment of courses with relevant content that resonates with students, i.e. to contextualise the study material. This paper focuses on enrichment of a specific introductory information technology (IT) programming course that is taught to first year students at a South African university. This course is problematic as the students fail to grasp the abstract programming concepts that are crucial for higher-order learning. They can then not apply these concepts practically; this is crucial for them so that they can become good programmers. We applied the soft systems methodology, as a reflective practice, to explore the perspectives of the students, so as to enable incorporation thereof in the teaching material and as such contextualise the material. The outcome of this study is contextualised examples and metaphors relating to the key abstract concepts that will be applied in class.


Contextualisation of curricula Information technology education Programming skills 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer Science and Information SystemsNorth-West UniversityVanderbijlparkSouth Africa

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