Bachelor Thesis Log 1

You are reading an older blog post. Please be aware that the information contained in it may be technologically outdated. This text may not necessarily reflect my current opinions or capabilities.

This is an English translation of a blog post that was originally published in German.

July 20th, 2010

The overwhelming consensus seems to be that the genesis of my bachelor thesis interests at least a few people. So here is the first report of hopefully many, in which I will first explain the topic and quote a bit from my draft synopsis.

What are Teachlets?

Teachlets are a teaching concept developed at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hamburg for contents of practical computer science, which exists in the area of tension between theoretical lecture and practical programming exercise and thereby tries to aggregate the advantages of both approaches. In a teachlet, there are lecture-like sections, but also open design discussions in the plenum, which, guided by the presenter, are converted into code live on the presentation computer.

Due to the special methodology of teachlets, the participants of a teachlet are encouraged to immediately reflect on and apply what is presented more than in a traditional lecture.

Prior Research

There are essentially two papers on the topic that discuss teachlets abstractly, both by the inventor of the concept and supervisor of my bachelor thesis, Axel Schmolitzky.

As you can see, the field has hardly been covered so far.

My Goals

In my paper I would like to define and delimit the teachlet concept more systematically than was done in Axel's original paper. Here is the definition of the term given there:

A teachlet is an interactive teaching unit in which an executable piece of software is to be extended by a clearly defined functionality in order to illustrate a design pattern or a programming language concept. A presenter uses a computer and a projector to motivate the initial system and the extension to be made, and then has the participants guide him or her in making the necessary changes to the source code.

This definition gives a good idea of how a teachlet can work. At the same time, however, it contains an undisclosed number of limitations and assumptions that may not be universally applicable to practical use, and leaves other structural issues unresolved.

As a first step, I would like to develop a new definition that takes into account the experiences from the teachlet workshops of the last years as well as from external facilitators in order to catch up with theory to practice.

Furthermore, I want to explore in which contexts teachlets can work and what needs to be considered in each case. This will involve questions such as: can a teachlet be used in a lecture with 100 participants instead of a seminar with 20 participants? What changes to the teachlet and the choreography are necessary for this?

Didactics, Pedagogy and I

The obvious question: To what extent is the topic suitable for a bachelor thesis in computer science? To the naysayers claiming that the topic would be better suited for students of educational science or teacher aspirants, I reply as follows:


That was a first glimpse into the topic and objective. Check back next week when it will be all about empiricism and data collection. Questions and comments on this week's and next week's topics are highly encouraged as they motivate me to follow through with this coverage. ;)


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