June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Computers in Education
24.723.1 - 24.723.11
Improving the Affective Element in Introductory Programming Coursework for the “Non Programmer” StudentOver a period of several semesters, we examined undergraduate students who were enrolled inan introductory computer programming course. The goal of the study was to observe the degreeto which each student’s feelings about the discipline of programming were affected by theirexperience in this course. The course attempted to encourage a learning environment in whichstudents who were unfamiliar or intimidated by the discipline of programming would beinformed that the course is explicitly oriented toward them, rather than toward the moreadvanced students. The course was designed to defer to the needs of low-skill students such thatcontent progression was slow, thorough, and student centered. Students were surveyed at thebeginning of the semester on measures of: self-identified programming skill, years of previousprogramming experience, and like or dislike of programming. Students were then solicited at theend of semester and surveyed on perceived: appropriateness of difficulty, appropriateness of thedifficulty progression, their improvement as a programmer, and the degree to which theyincreased or decreased their enjoyment of programming. As the focus of this approach wasoriented toward students with low-positive feelings toward programming, we grouped studentsinto groups of high-dislike (HD) and low-dislike (LD), and then compared their individualchange of attitude toward programming at the end of the semester. Further, we collectedqualitative data in order to allow students to elaborate on why they felt the way they did. Weobserved that LD students reported greater measures of positive affect toward programming bythe end of the semester. Individual student comments are also highlighted and discussed. Theseresults indicate that approaches to increasing interest in programming education must beaccompanied by a supportive, student-centered learning environment that acknowledges thedifficulty of the subject matter.
Whittinghill, D. M., & Nelson, D. B., & R. Richards, K. A., & Calahan, C. A. (2014, June), Improving the Affective Element in Introductory Programming Coursework for the “Non Programmer” Student Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20615
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