Abstract: In order to increase participation in Computer Science (CS), contextual approaches are often suggested for teaching. Although these approaches are quite promising, we do not know what exactly context means and how CS teaching should implement these approaches. In the broadest sense CS in context means that CS is linked to subject areas outside CS, helping students to perceive CS as a meaningful, useful, and helpful subject that is established in outside arenas.
The study we present in this paper explores the characteristics of CS in context that form possible pathways into the field. For this purpose, we analyse the computing experiences of students majoring in CS-related fields. The study is part of our research project about computing processes. In this project, we investigate students' computing experiences in order to understand how students' interests, motivation, and requirements for computing develop and how computing influences their understanding of CS.
In the current study, we examine general qualitative aspects of CS in context, especially activities and habits that sharpen and stabilize students' self-image and world-image. Because we find surprisingly few examples of specific contexts (such as subject areas) that are related to students' subject choice, we finish this paper with a discussion about possible reasons and conclusions for further studies.