Computer Science News

App and Coding Curriculum Awards 2014

UCL Computer Science held their annual App Awards event on the 4th June for First Year Undergraduate, MSc Computer Science and MSc Financial Computing students.

Around 220 students with some 70 apps in total have worked in teams with real world clients to develop app technologies as part of their programming and software engineering work. This is a great opportunity to celebrate our student capabilities and especially to open doors for future interdisciplinary collaborations. The large majority of these apps are for clients across UCL faculties, charities and healthcare organisations.

Awards were given for the best mobile app projects developed by First Years Undergraduates in the module COMP1008 Object-Oriented Programming, and by MSc students in the module COMPGC02 Design. In addition awards were made to first years who

delivered the best Coding Curriculum publications.

We thank to UCL Faculty of Engineering and UCL Advances who have come on board to sponsor and manage the apps publishing cycle for UCL faculties. We are also very pleased to have a great collaboration with the British Computing Society and Google who awarded certificates.

In addition, as a member of the Computing At Schools ‘Network of Excellence’, UCL’s Department of Computer Science is aware of some of the challenges faced by teachers as they prepare to roll out the new Computing curriculum in secondary schools this year. Specifically, Computer Science has not been widely taught in schools for decades and there is a shortage of teaching materials for use in the classroom. In response, Professor Stephen Hailes and Dr Dean Mohamedally asked their undergraduates to work in teams and create resources as part of an activity called ‘UCL Coding Curriculum’.

The hard work and creativity of the UCL teams shines through in the outstanding work they have produced. In one project, Python is introduced using the theme of Cryptography and Ciphers; the material contains unplugged activities and exercises enabling students to familiarise themselves with the concepts involved before plunging in with coding. In another, the material covers building dynamic web pages using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.  All of the resources are standalone, in that students can work through them at their own pace. This makes them ideal extension activities for those who want to learn more.

The top seven project teams were awarded certificates by the Dalim Basu, Chairman of the British Computing Society, North London Branch. The projects will be published on the UCL Computer Science Outreach webpages (http://www.cs.ucl.ac.uk/outreach/) and have also been added to the Community CAS portal. Over the summer UCL students will edit the material making it available in book format.

UCL are clear that the benefits of the UCL Coding Curriculum are two-way. For undergraduates, learning how to teach is a valuable, transferable skill which can also provide an insight into the ways in which we accumulate knowledge. UCL are looking forward to repeating this activity next year, this time placing undergraduates in local Camden schools so that they can work directly with teachers as part of the Get Camden Coding campaign.

Current Undergraduates Rohan Kopparapu, Delia Gander, Iustin Sibiescu, Chaitanya Agrawal and Vardan Tandon commented on their experience:

"Encryption is one of those things in computer science that goes unnoticed and is usually underappreciated. Yet, it is also one of the most interesting and important fields of study. We feel that teaching programming unconventionally while using ciphers as the main focus is an excellent idea. It would help strengthen the students' programming foundation without boring them to sleep, while giving them an insight into ancient ciphers as well as modern RSA and quantum cryptology. We hope this inspires a generation of students to take a greater interest in the fast growing industry of computer science."

A photo of the team is above. A short video is here http://youtu.be/wSZWgYMEBnk


Posted 10 Jun 14 16:04