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Relevance of Immediate Feedback in an Introduction to Programming Course

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technical Session 1: Issues Impacting Students Learning How to Program

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/33235

Download Count

13

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Paper Authors

biography

Raquel Landa Tecnologico de Monterrey (ITESM) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0003-4940-0462

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Part-time teacher at Tec de Monterrey since 1999, with a Ph.D. in Education, a Master in Information Technology Management and a Major in Electronic Systems. Currently involved in Innovation projects related to engineering and programming courses.

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Yolanda Martinez-Treviño Tecnológico de Monterrey

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Abstract

Introductory programming classes have a fundamental place in Information Technologies curricula, is in this classes where the fundamental concepts of programming are learned, hence its importance. Logic, analysis and problem solving skills need to be practiced to master programming. This represents a challenge to every programming teacher. Traditional teaching methods are no longer enough to actively involve students in the learning process that, although necessary in any area, in programming they are mandatory since it is only through constant practice that the necessary skills to become an effective programmer can be developed. To face with this challenge one interesting option is Mastery Learning. With this approach, students advance in content and activities at their own pace with the particularity that they can only move forward to more advanced topics or problems until they demonstrate they have mastered the previous ones. For this method to work within the programming context it is necessary to be able to give immediate feedback, which can only be done using automatize tools.

This paper presents the experience in an Introduction to Programming course where since fall 2017 an automated tool (Vocareum) is used in each class session. Several programming exercises are uploaded to the tool, students solve the exercises during class time while the professor is available to answer their questions. Before using the automated tool the professor tried to implement the same approach, but had to go with each student to check the solutions before moving to the next exercise. Now, thanks to the use of the automated tool, the student has immediate feedback on whether the code is correct or not, executing different tests, which are pre-configured by the teacher. As a consequence, student can move forward to the next problem or ask for the teachers support if needed, hence the professor’s time is focused in helping the students that are struggling with the concepts. This also enables the learning pace can be personalized as the students who have the correct solution can continue with the following exercises, while the students who are having problems can continue working in the same problem without having to follow other students pace, this is especially relevant in this class since there’s a gap in mastery level students have on the basic programming concepts, while there are some students that learned to program in high school courses or using online courses; there are other students who had never written a line of code.

Landa, R., & Martinez-Treviño, Y. (2019, June), Relevance of Immediate Feedback in an Introduction to Programming Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33235

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