East Lansing, Michigan
July 26, 2020
July 26, 2020
July 28, 2020
(Required first sentence: This is an abstract for a full paper.) Online courses often have drawbacks for young college students that lead to low engagement and low success. We have taught an online CS1 section at a major university every quarter since 2013, and discovered features that have led the class to evolve to have high engagement and high success. Those features include: (1) synchronous meetings with instructors projecting video/audio and students actively participating via a text chat forum (2) strong learning content/tools outside class, (3) simple class structure and assigning many small tasks rather than a few large tasks, and (4) strong instructors. The online section's overall grade performance is now excellent, and the online section's end-of-quarter evaluations are also competitive with in-person, sometimes stronger, and commonly rate the class in the 80th percentile of all classes on campus. Students often express surprise at how engaging the online class was, with comments like "I've never been so engaged in a class; I wish more classes were online." The class has served as the model for online CS classes at other universities as well.
Vahid, F., & Allen, J. M. (2020, July), An online course for freshmen? The evolution of a successful online CS1 course Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan. https://strategy.asee.org/35755
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