Making advanced computer science topics more accessible through interactive technologies

Kun Shao (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
Peter Maher (Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 8 June 2012



Teaching advanced technical concepts in a computer science program to students of different technical backgrounds presents many challenges. The purpose of this paper is to present a detailed experimental pedagogy in teaching advanced computer science topics, such as computer networking, telecommunications and data structures using interactive technologies involving live exercises on Windows networking, the Web 2.0 technologies YouTube and Wiki PBworks, the network simulation software Wireshark, and a Data Structure Visualizer (DSV).


The paper adopts an empirical approach. A novel method for teaching and learning using interactive technologies is demonstrated. Experiments are made through actual classroom teaching, students' participation and their team‐oriented research projects. The assessments come from evaluations and analysis of each technology applied in the learning and teaching process.


Using traditional teaching methodologies for advanced computer science topics such as networking, telecommunications and data structures present a great challenge to both instructors and students. Incorporating multiple interactive technologies into the computer science curriculum proves to be beneficial in bringing real‐world applications to the classroom, enhancing understanding of abstraction, making advanced computer science topics easier to comprehend and more accessible to students of non‐uniform backgrounds, encouraging active learning and providing students the opportunity to apply solutions to real‐world problems.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed approach needs more experimentation with more classes of various topics. Class time is limited for more comprehensive demonstrations and discussions.


The paper presents an effective pedagogy in engaging learners in active, authentic and collaborative learning.



Shao, K. and Maher, P. (2012), "Making advanced computer science topics more accessible through interactive technologies", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 89-99.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.