Contemplations on results from investigating the personal epistemology of computing students.
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MCDERMOTT, R., PIRIE, I., LAXER, C., CAJANDER, A. and DANIELS, M. 2013. Contemplations on results from investigating the personal epistemology of computing students. In Proceedings of the 43rd IEEE frontiers in education conference (FIE 2013): energizing the future, 23 - 26 October 2013, Oklahoma City, USA. Piscataway: IEEE [online], pages 825-831. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2013.6684941.
'Personal Epistemology' is the analysis of the ways in which an individual perceives what constitutes knowledge, its boundaries, how it is justified, and how it is related to learning. While investigation of metacognitive strategies used by students is now an established research topic within Computer Science and Information Technology education, the study of personal epistemology is relatively undeveloped. This is so despite there being significant epistemological issues associated with learning the subject itself, such as those concerned with the way in which programming exercises change from convergent to divergent problems, or the process by which software project management problems very quickly become ill-defined. In this paper, we describe a preliminary investigation into the personal epistemology of two cohorts of computing students. We review some models of personal epistemological development and describe an empirical study in which we investigated the dimensions of epistemological beliefs of two cohorts of computing students. The results show that there appears to be a wide range of epistemological belief amongst computing students. Finally, we make some observations about the importance of personal epistemology for learning in Computer Science and outline further work in this area.