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Paul Dempster


Paul Dempster




Research overview

I'm interested in the following main areas:

  • CS education, programming languages, and any intersections of the two.  For example, mobile interfaces and HCI issues in programming; the feasibility and long-term effect of integrating advanced type systems into introductory programming; "the demoscene" as a framework/motivator in introductory programming; etc.
  • Heuristics, optimization, scheduling.  Particularly applications of these.  Currently, I'm interested in approaches to automatically creating bouldering climbing routes.
  • Learning analytics.  Programming languages and foreign-language learning, and e-sports activity.  How much can previous users' behaviour be used to inform future learners of what to do and avoid?

My Role

Director of Teaching (UG) & Lecturer, School of Computing and Communications


Paul Dempster is a lecturer in the Institute of Coding at the School of Computing and Communications.  After studying Software Engineering at the University of Glasgow, he studied Mandarin at Fudan University, Shanghai for a year.  This led to the opportunity to be part of the start-up of the School of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham's Ningbo, China campus.  He worked there for almost 10 years as a teaching fellow then lecturer until leaving in 2019 to come to Lancaster University.  During that time, he held teaching and learning roles such as faculty digital learning director, school senior tutor, and managed projects to improve student experience implementing virtual desktops and designing flexible learning spaces.  He is also involved in staff development via PGCHE sessions, mentorship, teaching & learning conferences, and is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.

His primary interests are programming education and data analytics in education and gaming.  As part of his Institute of Coding role, Paul is designing, implementing, and evaluating innovative Computer Science courses for non-CS major students which allow him to explore some of the questions around how to best teach programming to large groups of students with diverse backgrounds and needs.

Research Interests

PhD Supervision

I'm open to co-supervision in any of the areas listed in my research interests.  I have experience with projects which require substantial software development time; students suggesting such work should be mindful of what can realistically be achieved in the limited time to complete all aspects of PhD study.

Current Teaching


  • SCC.210 Computer Science Group Project (convenor)
  • SCC.300 Final Year Project supervision

Professional Role


Organising Committees:

  • International Teaching & Learning Conference - Advancing Innovations in Sino-Foreign Education, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, May 2019
  • Teaching & Learning Conference - Universal Design: meeting the teaching and learning challenges in 21st Century Higher Education, University of Nottingham, UK, May 2019.
  • Teaching & Learning Conference, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, 2017.

Career Details

  • Lecturer, Institute of Coding, School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University, 2019-present
  • Lecturer, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, 2014-2019
  • Teaching Fellow, School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, 2006-2010, 2013-2014.
  • BSc. Hons. (1st class) Software Engineering, University of Glasgow, 1998-2002

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