Randomness conceptions in programming

David Ginat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Randomness is a basic element in mathematics, engineering (EE) and computer science (CS). Students are introduced to the notions of random choices and random generation already in the very early courses. They repeatedly apply and utilize the programming random function in diverse occasions, and they learn of further appearances of randomness and probability in more advanced courses. How do students conceive the term "at random"? Do their conceptions suite the way the term is used in programming? Do they design suitable random selections and generations in their algorithms? These questions, and related ones were not yet studied by CS/EE educators. We address them here, through student answers to two instructive programming tasks. Student conceptions are displayed and discussed, and corresponding suggestions are offered for educators.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - Frontiers in Education, 35th Annual Conference
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogies and Technologies for the Emerging Global Economy, FIE'05
StatePublished - 2005
EventFrontiers in Education - 35th Annual Conference 2005, FIE' 05 - Indianapolis, IN, United States
Duration: 19 Oct 200522 Oct 2005

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


ConferenceFrontiers in Education - 35th Annual Conference 2005, FIE' 05
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityIndianapolis, IN


  • Probability
  • Programming
  • Randomness
  • Student conceptions


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