Michael Schrefl

Reflections on Teaching Computing

Results of my research can be read in my published papers, listed by DBLP or Google scholar. I rather wish to initiate a discussion on teaching computing as to (a) content delivery and (b) content development. Thus my talk will not be exhaustive, but give examples to start a discussion.

Several personal experiences over the last year stimulated the choice of this topic: (1) Lack of essential skills and holistic knowledge by some (but not all) computing students, (2) the suggestion of using “work-place observation” as main driver for curriculum development, and (3) the mismatch between aims of the high school curriculum and the high-school teacher education curriculum as to Artificial Intelligence.

I will identify potential causes for lack of essential skills by students and contemplate about possible measures in content delivery. As to content development, I do not believe that “work-place observation” should be a main driver. We have to be forward looking since information technology is evolving till students graduate in 3-5+ years and will further evolve during the 35+ years of their future working life. I will look back to the Computer Science curriculum of 1980 at TU/Uni Vienna and argue that its high theory content and its foresight in topics taught trained, from a perspective of almost 30 years later, graduates for a working life. Thus, I am very much convinced that we do the best for our students if we keep or increase theory and fundamentals in our curricula in Computer Science as well as in Business Informatics.

Finally, I will argue the case for including a compulsory course on “Introduction to Artificial Intelligence” in teacher education curricula.



Michael Schrefl received his Dipl.-Ing. degree and his Doctorate from Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria, in 1983 and 1988, respectively. During 1983–1984 he studied at Vanderbilt University, USA, as a Fulbright scholar. From 1985 to 1992 he was with Vienna University of Technology. During 1987–1988, he was on leave at GMD IPSI, Darmstadt. He was appointed Professor of Business Informatics at Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU), Austria, in 1992, and Professor in Computer and Information Science at University of South Australia in 1998.
He currently leads the Department of Business Informatics – Data and Knowledge Engineering at JKU , with projects in business intelligence, semantic systems, and web engineering.

Michael Schrefl is (co-)author of over 150 refereed journal and conference publications. He has been Chair of the Curriculum Committee for Business Informatics at JKU for over 25 years and been involved in the development and international accreditation of computing curricula in Australia and Austria.

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Event Timeslots (1)

Monday, June 3
Reflections on teaching computing [pptx]