Focus Groups

Focus Groups EuroPLoP 2018


  • Pattern Mining and applied patterns for programming exercises. (Or how to excite your students.)

Focus group leaders: Beate Münster & Thomas Raser

In our experience students often struggle with programming tasks and projects. They tend to get overwhelmed by the tasks complexity and/or design. In this Focus Group, we want to explore and evaluate these problems and how to solve them by applying patterns. We want to especially focus on designing and creating programming exercises that will excite students rather than intimidate them.

Structure of the Focus Group:
- Introduction of our topic including some exercises of the last terms EuroPLoP focus group proposal Yuki Kawabe, Keio university
Facilitator: Yuki Kawabe, Aimi Burgoyne, Konomi Munakata
MaxParticipants: 5 participants * 3 goups (15participants)

Time 1hour
10min Explanation of workshop and the web application we are developing
40min the workshop
10min Feedbacks

Experience short version of future language workshop which was invented by Iba lab.
Discuss how can we use pattern language

In this focus group, we will hold an ideathon to think of functions that should be added to the Pattern Application that we developed. The Pattern Application was developed to help meld patterns into everyday life and enrich everyday practice. In the paper we submitted to this conference, “Pattern Experience Chart Generator function on a pattern language platform Patterns We Live By,” we introduced the new pattern experience chart function and how it supports the practice of patterns. This function supports the long-term practice of patterns by indicating what patterns the user should practice. The goal of this hackathon is to come up with ideas for separate functions that can meld patterns into everyday life and support the practice of patterns in the short-term.
To begin, we will have all of the participants use the Pattern App to get a sense of the existing functions and how the app runs. After that, we will freely think of what functions could support the short-term pattern usage cycle. We also look forward to hearing any other opinions or ideas that do not relate to supporting the pattern usage cycle
To be specific, we will use the “Future Language Workshop” method to think of what functions may be beneficial to implement
The Future Language Workshop will be run as explained below. First we will brainstorm what is ideal, without worrying about whether it is possible. Then we will brainstorm the points that we think are dissatisfying or points that we think would be nice to have. Lastly we will brainstorm solutions that connect ideal visions and points that we think are dissatisfying.
Usually this workshop is run around hours, but this time it will be run in a short span of time.

-  Open discussion of what could be improved regarding the existing 

-  Defining rules for good exercise design (applying known patterns) 

-  Extract new patterns out of the given exercises or context (pattern 
Time: approx. 90 minutes 

  • candidates for patterns for creating good exercises
  • candidates for patterns for the evaluation of the existing 
structures to create better exercises.
  • Mining new patterns on the way
  • Fun 




  • Workshop for Designing a Workshop using the Wholeness Egg Approach

Focus group leaders: Konomi Munakata, Yuki Kawabe, Aimi Burgoyne, Taichi Isaku, & Takashi Iba

This workshop introduces “Wholeness Egg” as an effective technique for designing creative activities such as workshops and presentations which bring participants meaningful discoveries and stimulate their creative thinking. This method was developed based on the Christopher Alexander’s ideas of “the whole and parts” and “Fifteen Fundamental Geometrical Properties (Alexander, 2002)” described in his publications, “The Timeless Way of Building (1979)” and “The Nature of Order (2002)”. In particular, it aims to design the activity by grasping its wholeness first and subsequently differentiating it into parts (Fig.1), taking account of “Fifteen Fundamental Properties (Alexander, 2002)” to ensure the coherence and quality of the entire activity. In this workshop, participants can experience the technique of the Wholeness Egg in designing their own workshops (see Fig.2 and 3 as an example). We expect this workshop to provide participants with a clear understanding of the Wholeness Egg with a view to using it effectively in the practice of designing creative activities.
Fig.1: Overview of the designing process on the Wholeness Egg

Fig.2: Dialogue Workshop with Learning Patterns