Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

UC Berkeley

Computer Science Illustrated

Ketrina Yim

EECS Department
University of California, Berkeley
Technical Report No. UCB/EECS-2009-79
May 21, 2009

http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-79.pdf

The traditional lecture has been a standard teaching tool for university courses all around the world. However, students have different methods of learning, and for those who learn best through visual means, lectures are often not enough to understand the concepts. This is a particular problem in computer science, because a strong grasp of the fundamentals is vital to a student’s understanding of the complexities of programming and computing in general.

Computer Science Illustrated is an endeavor to help visual learners comprehend computer science topics through a series of illustrations, which are made available online for use as handouts in class and posters in the computer labs. These illustrations are designed to present concepts as engaging and memorable visual metaphors combined with concise explanations or short narratives, intended to maintain the students’ interest and facilitate retention. An additional goal of the project is to make learning the concepts an entertaining experience through the use of colorful and whimsical characters in the illustrations. In producing our twenty-seven illustrations, we determined which topics were most difficult for students to understand in our university’s introductory computer science courses and followed a step-by-step process of design, redesign, and revision to generate resolution-independent illustrations. In this report, we will present the rationale behind illustrating computer science concepts, the systematic process we employ to create and distribute our illustrations, the challenges faced during development, and a case study detailing the creation of a specific instance of our illustrations. We will also describe the results of assessing the effectiveness of our illustrations as visual aids used in courses, and conclude with additional paths this project may take in the future.

Advisor: Dan Garcia


BibTeX citation:

@mastersthesis{Yim:EECS-2009-79,
    Author = {Yim, Ketrina},
    Editor = {Clancy, Michael J. and Garcia, Dan},
    Title = {Computer Science Illustrated},
    School = {EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley},
    Year = {2009},
    Month = {May},
    URL = {http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-79.html},
    Number = {UCB/EECS-2009-79},
    Abstract = {<p>
The traditional lecture has been a standard teaching tool for university courses all around the world. However, students have different methods of learning, and for those who learn best through visual means, lectures are often not enough to understand the concepts. This is a particular problem in computer science, because a strong grasp of the fundamentals is vital to a student’s understanding of the complexities of programming and computing in general. 
</p><p>
<b>Computer Science Illustrated</b> is an endeavor to help visual learners comprehend computer science topics through a series of illustrations, which are made available online for use as handouts in class and posters in the computer labs. These illustrations are designed to present concepts as engaging and memorable visual metaphors combined with concise explanations or short narratives, intended to maintain the students’ interest and facilitate retention. An additional goal of the project is to make learning the concepts an entertaining experience through the use of colorful and whimsical characters in the illustrations. In producing our twenty-seven illustrations, we determined which topics were most difficult for students to understand in our university’s introductory computer science courses and followed a step-by-step process of design, redesign, and revision to generate resolution-independent illustrations. In this report, we will present the rationale behind illustrating computer science concepts, the systematic process we employ to create and distribute our illustrations, the challenges faced during development, and a case study detailing the creation of a specific instance of our illustrations. We will also describe the results of assessing the effectiveness of our illustrations as visual aids used in courses, and conclude with additional paths this project may take in the future.
</p>}
}

EndNote citation:

%0 Thesis
%A Yim, Ketrina
%E Clancy, Michael J.
%E Garcia, Dan
%T Computer Science Illustrated
%I EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley
%D 2009
%8 May 21
%@ UCB/EECS-2009-79
%U http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2009/EECS-2009-79.html
%F Yim:EECS-2009-79