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Pair Programming In A Cad Based Engineering Graphics Course

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching Strategies in Engineering Graphics

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.938.1 - 14.938.9



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Paper Authors


Robert Leland Oral Roberts University

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ROBERT LELAND received a S.B. in Computer Science from MIT in 1978, a M.S. in System Science from UCLA in 1982 and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 1988. From 1989-1990 he was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. From 1990-2005 he served on the faculty at the University of Alabama in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Since 2005 he has served on the faculty at Oral Roberts University in Engineering and Physics. His research interests include controls, MEMS, and engineering education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Pair Programming in a CAD Based Engineering Graphics Course


Pair programming was introduced into a course in engineering graphics that emphasizes solid modeling using SolidWorks. In pair programming, two students work at a single computer, and periodically trade off roles as driver (hands on the keyboard and mouse) and navigator (discuss strategy and design issues). Pair programming was used in a design project, and in a subsequent year in a design project and several smaller special projects. Student outcomes for two years were compared with a previous year in which pair programming was not used. Improvements were seen in design project scores, overall course scores, and project submission rates. The course is normally taken by first year students during the spring semester. Retention into the sophomore year was also higher for students participating in pair programming.

1. Introduction

Pair programming, an ingredient in extreme programming, has been used extensively in software development in industry, and has been used experimentally in computer programming based courses for engineering students. This paper describes the introduction of pair programming into the course EGR 140 Engineering Graphics at Oral Roberts University. The course uses the CAD software SolidWorks, and emphasizes solid modeling. Pair programming was introduced in a design project and several smaller special projects.

In pair programming, two students work on the same computer, and share one keyboard and one mouse. One student is the driver, and is operating the keyboard and mouse. The driver is actually creating the solid models. The other student is the navigator, who is checking to see that the specifications in the assignment are being met, thinking about the next step, and giving advice.

Pair programming is a part of a larger software development process known as Extreme Programming (XP), which has been reported to improve morale and customer satisfaction, and reduce project schedules8. The components of XP can be used to detail an educational process to develop expertise in software design9. A study involving 1200 students in introductory programming classes at two universities showed that students who engaged in pair programming performed as least as well as students working independently. A greater percentage of paired students passed the course with a grade of C or better. Also, a much larger percentage of the paired students declared a Computer Science major one year later8. In a study examining student behavior in computer labs, focus groups revealed that the paired students appreciated the ability to get quick answers to questions, without having to wait for an instructor. In addition, the lab instructors felt pair programming made their jobs easier as well7. In one study, the use of pair programming significantly increased the percentage of female students choosing to major in Computer Science5. Verbal responses from middle school girls involved in pair programming showed it was well received5. Students using pair programming were more likely to turn in working programs, were more likely to turn in their assignments to begin with, and reported being more confident and more satisfied with their experience4. In another study of pair

Leland, R. (2009, June), Pair Programming In A Cad Based Engineering Graphics Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5764

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