S2-COMP9-3 - Design and Evaluation of a Teaching-Related Knowledge Sharing System to Meet the Needs of Computer Science Instructors

3. Research Full Paper
Nouf Almujally1, 2 , Mike Joy1
1 The University of Warwick
2 Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University

Computer Science instructors are involved in many responsibilities and tasks that prevent them from finding enough time for capturing their accumulated teaching-related knowledge and experience with other instructors. Additionally, many years of valuable teaching practices could be lost due to academic retirement without being recorded in a proper knowledge management system. Consequently, novice teachers are facing a critical challenge in teaching and delivering subject knowledge that relates to algorithms, programming and the development of computational thinking skills. It would be more valuable if know-how knowledge is recorded, organised, and shared in a way that encourages new teachers to reuse it to assist in the spread of best practice, and improve overall teaching quality. After a study of the relevant literature, it could be seen that far too little attention has been paid to the capturing of teaching-practices which are not easily expressed or communicated in visual or verbal terms [1]. There are a small number of studies in the literature which have tackled the problem of knowledge capturing. However, the technologies applied did not support the capturing of instructors’ teaching-related knowledge. Additionally, these technologies often fail because they are limited to the solving of technical issues only and do not take into consideration the end-user requirements [2, 3]. In this design science research, we therefore design and demonstrate a Teaching Practices Management System which supports the capturing of teaching practices. The system will employ a Teaching Practice Document Template (TPDT), its structure is that of a set of pre-specified attribute fields which act as a form of guidance when creating the teaching-related knowledge. The development of the TPDT has been informed by semi-structured interviews conducted with 22 computer science instructors working in two universities in Saudi Arabia – in order to better understand the academics’ actual knowledge sharing behavior and also to gain a systemic and overall perspective of the basic requirements of the new system. An inductive coding approach was employed to help the researcher extract themes which were mentioned by the interviewees – frequently, dominantly or significantly. A mixed-methods evaluation of the users’ experiences of using the system has shown that the instructors were satisfied with the TPDT and were mostly positive about its attributes. The results of this evaluation were promising but also highlighted a drawback of the system. The drawback identified could be used as the basis for future research. A key contribution of this research was the design and development of an innovative knowledge management system which supported the capturing of teaching-related knowledge by computer science instructors in Saudi universities. The TPDT took into consideration the needs and preferences of the end-users in order to ensure its acceptability and utilization. This was achieved by including user participation from the initial stages of the design process. From a practical point of view, the TPDT can be used as a guide for designers when designing and implementing any new knowledge management system. It supports designers in their facilitating of the creation of high-quality teaching-related knowledge descriptions. Furthermore, it could help managers in evaluating teaching practices. Also, the TPDT is structured in such a way that users can more easily understand and apply the BTPs which are thus recorded.