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18 June 2020

Standing the Test of Time

Professor Michael Kölling wins Test of Time award for paper on programming environments.


A paper co-authored by King’s Professor of Computer Science, Michael Kölling, a quarter of a century ago, has won the inaugural Association of Computer Machinery Special Interest Group Computer Science Education (ACM SIGCSE) Test of Time award. This award recognises research that has had a lasting impact on computer science education research and practice.

 The paper, An Object-Oriented Program Development Environment for the First Programming Course, by Michael Kölling and John Rosenberg, then at the University of Sydney, presented an educational programming development environment for use in introductory university programming courses. It highlighted limitations of the then prevalent approaches in teaching programming and software engineering principles and proposed a new approach that allows students to focus on program and object structures rather than the syntax of statements. The paper was an early proponent of Object-Oriented Programming, and the proposed environment design is now widely used in computer science education.

Commenting on the award, Michael said:

It is amazing – and very satisfying – to see that this work is still so influential today. It makes me feel a bit old to think that it was 24 years ago, but it is great to see the work still being used.

SIGCSE is the ACM special interest group for computer science education, and provides a forum for computer science educators to discuss issues related to the development, implementation, and/or evaluation of computing programs, curricula, and courses, as well as syllabi, laboratories, and other elements of teaching and pedagogy.

In this story

Michael Kölling

Vice-Dean (Education) and Professor of Computer Science