Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Computer Science

First Advisor

Kostadin Damevski


Computer programming is a crucial skill for future professionals, not only those working as computer programmers but most modern workers. To train the next generation, society has created many initiatives to introduce computer programming to young students. These initiatives range from classes in a formal academic setting to informal, extracurricular sessions in after-school and summer camps. Even with the increasing offer of these initiatives to expand the opportunities to learn computer programming, the interest in computer programming remains low, especially among populations underrepresented in computing. This lack of interest could be impacted by stereotypical views of computer programming as tedious and difficult to learn and the idea that programming is only for those with a "geek" gene. Therefore, introducing students to a different side of computer programming, such as its ability to make high-quality music in connection to the use of culturally relevant pedagogy, may be an essential tool in changing students’ perceptions of this field. To investigate this, this dissertation describes and evaluates my approach that introduces the foundational concepts of computer programming using music. First, it investigates prior work that has used music to teach programming. Next, it describes my approach and curriculum design, which combines programming with hip-hop music. Then, it analyzes my approach's impact on attracting and engaging students in several contexts. Finally, it demonstrates how pedagogical approaches commonly used in computer science education can be adapted to this musical context without losing effectiveness. The results indicate that my approach attracts, motivates, and engages students in computer science, a promising step in the effort to broaden the appeal of computer science to increase diversity.


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