The development of programming skills by Networking graduates, and Security and Digital Forensics graduates is highly sought after by employers, both in industry, and in academia for staffing research and knowledge exchange projects. Placements offer undergraduate students an ideal opportunity to refine their programming skills, and there is a demand for Networking students, and Security and Digital Forensics students who have competent programming skills for work based learning and for undertaking staff-proposed ideas for undergraduate student projects. Unfortunately for several years there has been a growing concern that our Networking students and our Security and Digital Forensics students are struggling with programming at second year undergraduate level. Teaching staff have found it challenging to deal with perceived attitudes such as “Can’t program, won’t program” or “I think Programming is boring therefore I’m bored”. Employers have also raised concerns about the lack of graduates with good programming skills. Before the 2013/2014 academic year those students were taught alongside Software Engineering students and Computing students who on the whole were well motivated and enjoy the second year undergraduate level programming module. Teaching staff found it difficult to balance the provision of teaching and learning experiences that would satisfy the range of motivations of the various students. This presentation will report on the initial findings of our practitioner-based approach in moving to a stand-alone second year programming module that aims to win the hearts and minds of the Networking and of the Security and Digital Forensics students, and their programme leaders.
Lawson, A., & Macfarlane, R. (2014, April). Embedding programming skills to support the student journey in networking, security and digital forensics. Paper presented at HEA STEM Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2014: Enhancing the STEM Student Journey