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Oral Proficiency Exams in High-Enrollment Computer Science Courses

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computing and Information Technology Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37550

Download Count

169

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Paper Authors

biography

Scott J. Reckinger University of Illinois at Chicago

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Scott J. Reckinger is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder in 2013. His research interests in computational fluid dynamics are focused on the development and application of advanced numerical methodologies and model development for the study of multi-scale fluid systems, including the growth of hydrodynamic instabilities and the resulting turbulent mixing. Scott teaches courses across many disciplines, including engineering mechanics, introductory programming, probability and statistics, control systems, and professional development. Scott’s research interests in engineering education are committed to the advancement of innovative teaching methodologies and pedagogies to improve student learning in inclusive learning environments.

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biography

Shanon Marie Reckinger University of Illinois at Chicago

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Shanon Reckinger is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder in August of 2011 and an MS degree in Computer Science Education at Stanford University. Her research interests include computational fluid dynamics, numerical methods, and computer science education.

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Abstract

Oral exams were implemented in two different introductory computer science classes at a public research minority-serving university. The use of oral exams is motivated by two factors: (1) large CS enrollments; (2) remote learning. Due to the increase in CS enrollments, the CS course experience is at greater risk of impersonality with students lacking a sense of belonging. In some cases, students can go throughout an entire course with little interaction with other students or the instructor. Similarly, with the increase in remote learning due to the pandemic, especially in courses with large enrollments, students are lacking synchronous connections. An added issue with large enrollments and remote learning is the difficulty of controlling and managing academic misconduct. The three research questions of this study are (1) to determine if oral exams can provide a way to connect with students one-on-one; (2) to determine if oral exams keep students accountable on the course material and improve their learning; and (3) to determine if oral exams are stressful for students. In this study, we implement oral exams in two different courses taught by two different instructors. Students were surveyed at the end of the term to answer the research questions. For research question 1, teaching staff met with students one-on-one three times throughout the semester for enrollments ranging from 75-275 students to complete the oral exams. For research question 2, students reported that oral exams improved their understanding of the material and the oral exams encouraged them to do more independent work throughout the semester. For research question 3, students reported that oral exams were very stressful prior to taking the first one, but did not find subsequent oral exams stressful.

Reckinger, S. J., & Reckinger, S. M. (2021, July), Oral Proficiency Exams in High-Enrollment Computer Science Courses Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37550

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