TCPP_Algorithms CS1 accessible

Originally described Steven Bogaerts.

No link to independent description. See Details section for more details.


This analogy is used to describe different types of inter-process communication. The scenario is as follows: suppose that you and a friend are trying to count the number of people in a building. How can this be accomplished? Here are three different things you may say to your friend (from Bogaerts2014):

CS2013 Knowledge Unit Coverage


TCPP Topics Coverage

TCPP Algorithms


Generally accessible.


(Bogaerts2014) used the building analogy to describe interprocess communication as part of a larger unit in parallelism in a CS1 course. He mentions that the total amount of time spent on parallelism was larger in the section that used analogies and hands-on activities compared to the one that presented the topics in a traditional lecture-style format (4 hours vs 90 minutes). However, the section that used analogies and hands-on activities performed better than those who received the information in a traditional lecture-format. Bogaerts argues that it is much better to spend more time on fewer parallel concepts in a hands-on way in an introductory course, rather than covering a variety of parallel concepts in a non-hands-on way. The final conclusion drawn is that analogies and hands-on activities enabled students to learn better and stimulated greater interest in the subject than a course that delivered the material in a typical lecture-style fashion. (Bogaerts2017) extends the assessment of the original paper, but found that while student interest increased, the desire to learn more decreased. The authors theorize that this is because most of the students in the course were non-majors who will not be pursuing computing in the future.