Graduating students' designs: through a phenomenographic lens

Lynda Thomas, Anna Eckerdal, R. McCartney, J. Mostrum, Kate Sanders, Carol Zander

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Proceeding (Non-Journal item)

14 Citations (SciVal)


We expand upon previous research that looked at the question: "Can graduating students design software systems?" Specifically we want to examine students' understanding of the phenomenon "produce a design." What does this instruction mean to them? In order to investigate student understandings, we examined their designs using a phenomenographic approach.

Our outcome space includes six understandings: (0) the design a layman might produce; (1) a design with some formal notation; (2) a design that uses formal notations to express the static relationships among the parts; (3) a design that uses formal notation to express sequential (dynamic) information, but does not relate that to the static system parts; (4) a design that includes and relates multiple artifacts, both static and dynamic; and (5) a design that relaxes the notations and includes only essential artifacts. The last understanding was found only in our expert's design, and we do not expect it from undergraduates.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the tenth annual conference on International computing education research
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-2755-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventICER '14 - Glasgow, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Duration: 08 Jul 2014 → …


ConferenceICER '14
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Period08 Jul 2014 → …


  • design
  • Software Design
  • software
  • replication


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