CERC PhD Student Forum

The CERC PhD Student Forum is a new group bringing together PhD students working at KCL or QMUL in computing education. The group meets monthly to share ideas and offer support.

Current members are:

  • Alex Hadwen-Bennett, KCL
  • Maria Kallia, KCL
  • Jane Waite, QMUL
  • Mark Dorling, QMUL

Below is information about the work members of the group are undertaking:


Alex Hadwen-Bennett

Alex Hadwen-Bennett is working on a project to explore how visually impaired children develop an understanding of control flow when using physical programming languages. The learning processes of the children are being investigated through the examination of the children’s hand movements when working with physical programs.

Recent publications:

Hadwen-Bennett, A., Sentance, S., Morrison, C. (2018). Making Programming Accessible to Learners with Visual Impairments: A Literature Review. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 2(2), 3-13.

Hadwen-Bennett, A. & Thieme, A. (2018). ‘Inclusivity of Computing Education for Learners with Visual Impairments’ in CHI 2018 Workshop: Emerging Opportunities in Inclusive Education for People with Visual Impairments. 2018, Canada.

For more information see this page and visit Alex’s Research Gate profile.

Maria KalliaMaria Kallia is working on a project to understand which concepts in computer  programming are particularly difficult and could be identified as “threshold concepts”. The specific aim of this project is to identify threshold concepts in the broad area of functions and procedural abstraction at key stage 4 and 5 computing curriculum and to explore how students can be helped with understanding and mastering these concepts.

Recent publications:

Kallia, M., & Sentance, S. (2017). Computing Teachers’ Perspectives on Threshold Concepts: Functions and Procedural Abstraction. In Proceedings of the 12th Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education: WIPSCE ’17 DOI: 10.1145/3137065.3137085

Kallia, M. (2017). Assessment in Computer Science courses: A Literature Review. Royal Society.

Kallia, M., & Psycharis, S. (2017). The effects of computer programming on high school students’ reasoning skills and mathematical self-efficacy and problem solving. INSTRUCTIONAL SCIENCE, 45(5), 583–602. [45].

For more information see this page and visit Maria’s Research Gate profile.

Jane WaiteJane Waite is researching ways of teaching programming, with the ultimate goal of supporting primary teachers teaching programming.

Recent publications:

Waite, J., Curzon, P., Marsh, W., Sentance, S., Hadwen-Bennett, A. (2018). Abstraction in action: K-5 teachers’ uses of levels of abstraction, particularly the design level, in teaching programming. International Journal of Computer Science Education in Schools, 2(1), 14-40.

Waite, J. (2017). Pedagogy in Teaching Computer Science in Schools: A Literature Review. Royal Society.

For more information see this page and visit Jane’s Research Gate profile.