The research of the Center for Computer Science Didactics and Learning Research focuses at a basic, foundational level as well as at an applied level. In subject didactics in Computer Science main emphasis is on curricula as well as specific core Computer Science concepts. In technology-enhanced learning we explore competences and learning designs striving for learning, communication, and knowledge development in technology-enhanced environments to become more significant and more effective for our society. The interrelations of technology-enhanced learning and Computer Science didactics are of special interest. We target at audiences at the secondary and tertiary level of education as well as in industry, thereby applying the research results obtained at the basic level. Research covers subject didactics as well as trans-disciplinary topics, including interpersonal relationships, visual models of learning processes, learning objects, microworlds, ontologies, and the development of open source platform modules that match the users' needs.
Research focuses on effective means and methods of conveying basic principles of Computer Science to different audiences. Main topics include computation, communication, coordination, recollection, and automation. Specific challenges for Didactics of Computer Science are the need to help learners seeing clear distinctions between ICT literacy and ICT fluency on one hand and fundamental ideas of Computer Science concepts like designing algorithms, structural decomposition as general problem solving tool, and language as the basic tool for implementing solutions on the other hand. Development and evaluation of content, methods, and media for these tasks is the main goal of the Research Center.
Research questions tend to arise from our own experience in facilitating technology-enhanced learning, as well as from our tight cooperation with secondary schools, the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Vienna, and numerous national and international partners. Part of our research is developing and studying learning environments for Computer Science topics for different target audiences. A major concern is the transfer of research results into practice, including promotion of the university-wide strategy towards the “unity of research and teaching.” This becomes apparent in the courses and curricula in which the Center is involved.
- Lehramt Informatik für Höhere Schulen: A masters program for teaching computer science in upper secondary schools.
- Informatikdidaktik: A masters program for a degree emphasizing knowledge, skills and competences in mediating computer science and ICT concepts.
Since Computer Science in Austrian high schools is a highly integrative subject with a strong interdisciplinary component, we cooperate with teacher centers for teacher education in all fields to help preventing too narrow specializations for teachers. In addition to subject specific teacher education the Center also offers IT-infrastructure for other fields and helps developing scenarios for efficient use of ICT for education across many subject areas and different audiences.
The Center is based at the Faculty of Computer Science and has interfaculty, national and international cooperation with scientists from humanities and different science areas (social sciences, mathematics, physics, statistics, etc.).