Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences


UC Berkeley


2008 Research Summary

Computer Science Illustrated

View Current Project Information

Ketrina Yim and Dan Garcia

In 1983, artist Larry Gonick published a hilarious, comics-style book entitled "The Cartoon Guide to Computer Science" [1], later reprinted in 1991 [2]. While a fair amount of the material is now dated, it does contain a wealth of material useful in an educational context. For example, it can provide a high-level overview of the history of computing, information theory, and basic logic, and even includes exercises for the reader. The text and imagery are delightful, and the book is truly hard to put down.

Many education researchers believe that different people learn differently, and have tried to understand and classify different learning styles [3]. One of the categorized types was that of a Visual Learner, who prefers "pictures, diagrams, or flow charts" [4]. There is a building momentum for creating material (images, animations, interactive displays) for use in science and engineering education [5]. The goal of this project is to join this wave of educators and create compelling and informative visual imagery to facilitate teaching lower- and upper-division computer science.

Ketrina Yim is a rare find--a student with an extremely strong computer science record and a love of illustration with educational interests. On her own volition, she penned several "tutorial sheets" for her fellow students learning Scheme in CS61A which have been polished in Adobe Illustrator (Figures 1) and she is now working on CS61C (Figure 2). Our intent is to support her to think about the entire curriculum and attack difficult concepts (e.g., Caches and Virtual Memory) with more relevant educational illustrations. These will be available in resolution-independent, object-based pdf format and archived for EECS availability.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Scheme list constructors (for CS3S and CS61A)

Figure 2
Figure 2: Integer representations (for CS61C)

L. Gonick, The Cartoon Guide to Computer Science, Barnes & Noble, New York, NY, 1983.
L. Gonick, The Cartoon Guide to the Computer, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 1991.
R. M. Felder and L. K. Silverman, "Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education," Engineering Education, Vol. 78, No. 7, April 1988, pp. 674-81.
L. Thomas, M. Ratcliffe, J. Woodbury, and E. Jarman, "Learning Styles and Performance in the Introductory Programming Sequence," SIGCSE Bull., Vol. 34, No. 1, March 2002, pp. 33-37. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/563517.563352
M. B. McGrath and J. R. Brown, Visual Learning for Science and Engineering, ACM Technical Report, 2006.