Programming is a creative process that requires the ability to concentrate and juggle multiple concepts simultaneously in one's mind. Existing research shows there is a tangible cost when a programmer is interrupted as the programmer must recover the context of his work and refocus on the task at hand. However, CS students are rarely taught about interruptions and how to manage them. Instead, teaching tends to focus only on technical concepts. In addition, there is little research on interruptions with respect to CS students. Therefore, our research examines what happens when CS students are taught about interruptions and how to cope with them.

The objective of this paper is to determine if CS students are affected by interruptions, what knowledge CS students possess regarding memory cues and resumption strategies, and what their opinion is of this material. We conducted a study with approximately two-hundred undergraduate CS students to answer these questions. Our study was comprised of an initial questionnaire, a seminar on memory cues and resumption strategies, and a follow-up questionnaire. Our results demonstrate that CS students are affected by interruptions, but 73% of students report not knowing methods to mitigate them. After learning about memory cues and resumption strategies, students report that the material was useful and that they want to study it. Their most significant feedback is that they have a strong desire to include these techniques in CS curriculums, reporting a mean score of 7.78 out of 10, where 0 signifies strong disagreement and 10 signifies strong agreement.

Noah John and Jaime Ruiz. 2015. Student Response to Teaching of Memory Cues and Resumption Strategies in Computer Science Classes. In Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 6-11.

@inproceedings{John:2015:SRT:2676723.2677234,
 author = {John, Noah and Ruiz, Jaime},
 title = {Student Response to Teaching of Memory Cues and Resumption Strategies in Computer Science Classes},
 booktitle = {Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education},
 series = {SIGCSE '15},
 year = {2015},
 isbn = {978-1-4503-2966-8},
 location = {Kansas City, Missouri, USA},
 pages = {6--11},
 numpages = {6},
 url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2676723.2677234},
 doi = {10.1145/2676723.2677234},
 acmid = {2677234},
 publisher = {ACM},
 address = {New York, NY, USA},
 keywords = {cues, interruptions, students, task resumption, teaching},
}