Asee peer logo

An Analysis of Incorporating Small Coding Exercises as Homework in Introductory Programming Courses

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

Emerging Computing and Information Technologies II

Tagged Division

Computing & Information Technology

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27549

Download Count

28

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Alex Daniel Edgcomb zyBooks

visit author page

Alex Edgcomb finished his PhD in computer science at UC Riverside in 2014. Alex works with zyBooks.com, a startup that develops interactive, web-native textbooks in STEM. Alex also works as a research specialist at UC Riverside, studying the efficacy of web-native content for STEM education.

visit author page

biography

Frank Vahid University of California, Riverside

visit author page

Frank Vahid is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Univ. of California, Riverside. His research interests include embedded systems design, and engineering education. He is a co-founder of zyBooks.com.

visit author page

biography

Roman Lysecky University of Arizona

visit author page

Roman Lysecky is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Arizona. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside in 2005. His research interests include embedded systems, runtime optimization, non-intrusive system observation methods, data-adaptable systems, and embedded system security. He has recently coauthored multiple textbooks, published by zyBooks, that utilize a web-native, interactive, and animated approach, which has shown notable increases in student learning and course grades.

visit author page

biography

Susan Lysecky zyBooks

visit author page

Susan received her PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside in 2006. She served as a faculty member at the University of Arizona from 2006-2014. She has a background in design automation and optimization for embedded systems, as well as experience in the development of accessible engineering curricula and learning technologies. She is currently a Senior Content Developer at zyBooks, a startup that develops highly-interactive, web-­native textbooks for a variety of STEM disciplines.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Small auto-graded coding exercises with immediate feedback are widely recognized as helping students in introductory programming courses. We analyzed usage for a particular coding exercise tool, at 11 courses at different universities, awarding differing amounts of course points (including zero), to determine how awarding points affected student completion rates of the exercises. We found that without awarding points, completion rates were about 25%. Awarding even a small amount of points, such as 2 course points out of 100, seemed to result in 62% completion, with little increase in completion rates for more course points (such as 5, 10, or even 25). Comparing to participation activity completion rates of 85%, one might conclude that the 62% is short of 100% in part due to some students simply not doing homework (15%), and the remaining 23% due to the greater difficulty of the exercises. We analyzed time spent, and found that students spent about 3.3 minutes per exercise, matching the expected 2-4 minutes by the exercise authors. We analyzed number of tries per exercise, and found students submitted 3.5 tries on average per exercise. For some harder exercises, the averages were higher at 5-10 tries, suggesting the students are indeed putting forth good effort. We found very high numbers of tries by some students on a single exercise, sometimes 30, 50, or even 100, suggesting more work is needed to assist such students to better learn the concepts rather than repeatedly submitting tries, and to reduce frustration and increase learning efficiency.

Edgcomb, A. D., & Vahid, F., & Lysecky, R., & Lysecky, S. (2017, June), An Analysis of Incorporating Small Coding Exercises as Homework in Introductory Programming Courses Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27549

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015