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Technical Report HW-MACS-TR-0001

TitleA motivation for Education based Research: Factors Affecting Student Learning of the Unified Modelling Language
AuthorsPauline Wilcox
AbstractThere is awareness of difficulties that students encounter in learning particular computer science subjects. Our experience at Heriot-Watt has shown that students encounter difficulties with the Unified Modelling Language (UML). This paper presents the need for education-based research to a examine the difficulties encountered by students learning and applying the UML, and to examine possible solutions to these difficulties. Although the teaching of UML has become the catalyst for the proposed work, we perceive that the general problem concerns difficulties students encounter developing problem solving and modelling skills. There is a relationship here with existing research into problems students experience with learning programming skills. This paper outlines the difficulties concerning the learning of modelling skills and also a method to approach education-based research experiments to explore this problem. The work aims to provide much needed input to education-based research concerning the difficulties in teaching students what are essentially modelling skills.


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