The new first year undergraduate Computer Science unit, Programming and Algorithms II, utilises the concepts of teamwork and gamification to motivate and deliver the introduction of key computer science concepts.
The games company, Ravensburger, have sponsored board games which are used as practical teaching aids to introduce fundamental graph algorithms and search strategies - this year we are using the classic 'Scotland Yard' game in which intrepid detectives seek out the burglar in London using tube, bus and taxi. This turns out to be a really tricky graph searching problem which is a real challenge to program.
The use of physical board games for introducing complex concepts helps bridge the gap between intuitive algorithmic thinking and more formal description and implementation - an essential skill for the creative computer scientist.
The teaching method, championed by Dr Tilo Burghardt and Dr Ian Holyer, allows students to experience the intuitive notion of an algorithm directly and in a competitive setting, from modelling basic activities to predicting complex scenarios.
Programming and Algorithms II - COMS10001 - is a unit on the following undergraduate courses:
MEng Computer Science
BSc Computer Science
MEng Maths & Computer Science
BSc Maths & Computer Science
Find out more about our undergraduate programmes and how to apply