Dr Errol Thompson

Dr E Thompson
Dr Errol Thompson

Senior Lecturer

Phone number: 0121 204 3294
Email: [email protected]
Room number: MB 265E


My focus is on improving learning in relation to computational thinking, learning to program, software testing and architecture, peace building and economic thinking. The basis of this work is built on educational theory especially 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.

I have a background in computing focusing on software engineering, software architecture, and test driven software development. Alongside my practical experience in computing, I have read widely including economics and theology.


Most of my research is aimed at bringing change to the way my learners think and understand the subject. This includes understanding the framing stories that enable learners to better grasp different ways of understanding the nature of software and economic thinking. It is driven by a desire for a society that is just, encourages equality, and meets the needs of all things on this planet.


  • 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 at Aston University (since 2011)
  • Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at Aston University (Since August 2017)
  • CS1020 - Java Programming Foundations
  • CS1060 - Computational Reasoning and Communication
  • Supervising Final Year and Group Projects
  • PITTET - Peace-building Innovation Through Transforming Economic Thinking: This project involves exploring alternative models for economic thinking and the framing stories that encourage transformation in economic thinking. Sub-projects here include:
    • Progressive Principles and Peace-building Principles as Framing Stories
    • Agent-based economic modelling for different economic development models (i.e. Positive Money's Proposal or Equality or a needs based economy)
    • Economics game utilising different economic models
    • Exploring institutional development agent-based modelling based on alternative framing stories (i.e. progressive principles or peace-building principles)
    • Exploring framing stories currently in use by analysing Hansard or other public records
  • VITEL - Variation Innovation To Enhance Learning: This project focuses on techniques for enhancing the learning of programming utilising variation theory and influencing the learner's underlying belief of the subject area.
    • The different understanding of practitioners with relation to computational model building (i.e. programming)
    • How a learner's framing story (beliefs about the subject domain) influence their learning outcomes
    • Relationship between feedback comments and assigned marks - Can we drive mark generation from feedback comments?
    • The influence of the first programming paradigm on later programming ability (i.e. logic programming (LPS) or functional programming or ...)
    • Games or construals for developing computational thinking
    • Can computational thinking be taught without teaching programming? Can it be taught through everyday activities?
  • Katrina Jones - started January 2016 (Variation Theory and Learning)
  • Association of Computing Machinery
  • European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI)