The aim of this study was to explore Taiwanese college students’ conceptions of and approaches to learning computer science and then explore the relationships between the two. Two surveys, Conceptions of Learning Computer Science (COLCS) and Approaches to Learning Computer Science (ALCS), were administered to 421 college students majoring in computer science-related departments in Taiwan. The COLCS survey included the following seven factors, in a hierarchical order: learning computer science as “Memorizing,” “Testing,” “Calculating and practicing,” “Programming,” “Increasing one’s knowledge,” “Application and understanding,” and “Seeing in a new way.” Particularly, differing from previous learning conception studies, one newly developed factor, “Programming,” was added to COLCS to incorporate this unique feature for computer science students. The ALCS survey consisted of four factors: “Surface motive,” “Surface strategy,” “Deep motive,” and “Deep strategy.” The results showed that these two surveys were deemed to be sufficiently reliable for assessing students’ conceptions of and approaches to learning computer science. It was also found that the “Programming” factor should be considered as a higher-level learning conception, similar to the other higher-level conceptions in COLCS such as “Increase one’s knowledge,” “Application and understanding,” and “Seeing in a new way.” Furthermore, the “Application” and “Understanding” factors were merged into a single factor, “Application and understanding,” in this study. However, it was indicated that both Taiwanese college students’ lower- and higher-level learning conceptions were positively correlated to their surface motivations to learn computer science.
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