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Teaching computing : a practitioner’s perspective
Walker H., CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, 2018. 514 pp.  Type: Book (978-1-138034-43-3)
Date Reviewed: Dec 20 2018

Computing is a very popular option among undergraduates and graduates because it relates to many other disciplines, including finance, graphic design, game development, and biology, among others. The teaching of computing requires up-to-date knowledge of information technology (IT). It also differs from other disciplines because it relies on both software and hardware. This book attempts to gather good practices for building a comprehensive yet competitive computing curriculum. A major part of the book is based on the author’s research papers. The book is divided into 13 parts.

Part 1 is an introduction to the book. It quickly defines the main characteristics of teaching computing, which drive the discussion that follows: “a rapidly evolving discipline; the need for lab-based activities, often involving collaboration and/or pair programming; frequent dependence on hardware and software for presentations, examples, labs, and student assignments; and the common use of integrated environments for problem solving and programming.” This part also includes a thorough discussion of the author’s teaching background, including the fact that the book is a balance between research and personal experience.

Parts 2 through 5 discuss the different considerations when setting up a curriculum. This includes meeting both departmental and university missions and goals, and providing a foundation for long-term study and professional development. The last chapter of Part 5 discusses the importance of mathematics in a computing curriculum.

Parts 6 and 7, on “course development and planning,” cover delivery formats like lab-based work, flipped learning, and so on, as well as the main considerations to be taken into account when preparing a course. Parts 8 through 11 discuss “course details and day-by-day activities.” Within this theme, the author details the main “components that constitute the ongoing activities while a course is in progress,” for example, assignments and assessment. Parts 12 and 13 explore the “relationships between computing and other academic areas.”

Teaching computing is a detailed guide to building a successful computing curriculum. It is based on both Walker’s extensive teaching experience and scientific research. I highly recommend it to program directors, curriculum designers, and academics. In summary, the book provides the foundations for setting up a strong computing degree, taking into account the rapidly evolving discipline.

Reviewer:  Ghita Kouadri Review #: CR146349 (1903-0078)
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