Dr Errol Thompson

Dr E Thompson
Dr Errol Thompson

Teaching Fellow and Computing Education Researcher

Phone number: +44 121 204 3294

Email: e.l.thompson1@aston.ac.uk

Room number: MB 218C


 I joined Computer Science at Aston University as a Teaching Fellow in July 2011, having spent the previous two years as a Teaching Instructor in Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. I have extensive computing industry and academic experience. I like to combine theory with practice.

My focus is on improving learning in relation to computational thinking, learning to programming, software testing, and economic thinking. The basis of this work is on the use of variation theory to assist learners to understand threshold or core concepts thus enabling them to see the subject in new ways. I am looking at ways of using learning technologies to support this model of learning and conceptual change.

All of my research is aimed at bringing change to the way my learners think and understand the subject. It is driven by a desire for a society that is just, encourages equality, and meets the needs of all things on this planet.

Qualifications and Education 

  • BSc in Computer Science, University of Canterbury, NZ, 1975
  • MSc in Computer Science, University of Canterbury, NZ, 1980
  • PhD in Education, Massey University, NZ, 2009


  • Lecturer in Information Systems at Massey University New Zealand (1999-2007)
  • Teaching Instructor in Computer Science at University of Birmingham (2009-2011)
  • Teaching Fellow and Computing Education Researcher (since 2011)

Teaching Activity

Research Interests

  • Fostering conceptual change and understanding of threshold concepts utilising variation theory. Areas of interest in crude economics and computational problem solving.
  • Use of games to enable people to explore alternative economic strategies. In this context I am influenced by the principles of shalom (wholeness for all of creation).
  • The application of variation theory to the planning of learning opportunities, the assessment of teaching strategies, and the assessment of student learning.
  • The exploration of the utilisation of models for evaluating learning and promoting self evaluation by learners.
  • Scenario-based learning, and game technologies for learning. The implementation of a scenario-based learning environment for the teaching of programming.
  • Tools to visualise software execution with the initial focus on the object-oriented paradigm and the visualisation of program objects and interaction between object in a 3D context.
  • Using game type environments for training commissaires in road race management.

PhD Supervision

  • Beginning January 2015 (Variation Theory and Learning)


Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Association of Computing Machinery
  • European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI) 

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