June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1404.1 - 26.1404.14
Strategies to Integrate Writing in Problem-Solving Courses: Promoting Learning Transfer in an Interdisciplinary ContextReflective writings, the contextualization of learning experiences, and the application of learning toreal life all facilitate the transfer of interdisciplinary learning. Such strategies include makingexplicit to students the need for such a transfer, advising them to follow the appropriate coursesequence, emphasizing material they need to transfer to other courses, practicing transfer byinviting guest lecturers, developing of metacognitive skills, and reinforcing concepts by using themin different contexts. As the transfer of learning does not occur automatically, curricular andcourse design should intentionally emphasize the connection between courses.Problem Solving with Computer Programming (PS) is a required course for first-year computersystems majors and offers an ideal opportunity to establish a transfer structure. To make studentsaware of the connections between PS and English Composition that is also required, and tofacilitate the transfer of skills, we developed a learning community (LC) linking these courses.This innovative approach to teaching computing and writing to first-year computer systemsmajors at a college of technology uses programming narratives as its theme. Students write andimplement narratives, using computer programming, to develop a narrative-driven video gameprototype using Alice, a three-dimensional animation software. The LC emphasizes theimportance of connecting courses in the major and those in general education. The LC builds onour previous research, which found that introducing narrative elements into problem-solvingcourses improves overall student performance and computer programming-related problem-solving skills in particular.In this presentation, we will describe best practices and lessons learned from our LC and we willpresent three different strategies to integrate writing in PS courses for majors and non-majors.First, since implementation of LCs is not always feasible, to infuse narrative elements intoproblem-solving we developed a narrative module to help students develop narrative and writingskills that can be incorporated in all sections of the PS course. Second, we developed a series ofstudent-assessed case studies that can be integrated in all sections of the PS course for computersystems majors. Cases studies provide a narrative context in which students learn basic constructsof computer programming such as sequencing, selection and repetition structures. Third, wecreated a general education interdisciplinary course, Programming Narratives: Computer AnimatedStorytelling, open to non-computer majors, which emphasize creative writing and computationalthinking. In this interdisciplinary course, students learn the structure of narrative, concepts ofproblem solving, and the logic of computer programming languages as they develop a narrative-driven video game prototype helping students achieve the college-wide learning goal of makingmeaningful and multiple connections among the liberal arts and between the liberal arts and theareas of study leading to a major or profession.
Lansiquot, R. D., & Cabo, C. (2015, June), Strategies to Integrate Writing in Problem-solving Courses: Promoting Learning Transfer in an Interdisciplinary Context Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24741
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