Asee peer logo

Student Sense of Community Through an Introductory Computer Programming Course Sequence

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Insights for Teaching ECE Courses

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Laura K. Alford University of Michigan

visit author page

Laura K. Alford is a Lecturer and Research Investigator at the University of Michigan. She researches ways to use data-informed analysis of students' performance and perceptions of classroom environment to support DEI-based curricula improvements.

visit author page

author page

Amir Kamil University of Michigan


Andrew Deorio University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

visit author page
Andrew DeOrio is a teaching faculty member at the University of Michigan and a consultant for web and machine learning projects. His research interests are in ensuring the correctness of computer systems, including medical and IOT devices and digital hardware, as well as engineering education. In addition to teaching software and hardware courses, he teaches Creative Process and works with students on technology-driven creative projects. His teaching has been recognized with the Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize, and he has twice been named Professor of the Year by the students in his department.

visit author page

Download Paper |


An inclusive community is one factor in growing and maintaining a diverse student body. This proposal aims to measure changes in the sense of community among students as they progress through an introductory computing sequence.

A five year program is aimed at increasing the enrollment and graduation rates of women and underrepresented minority (URM) students in computer science and engineering at a competitive public research institution. Three obstacles to diversity in computer science and computer engineering have been identified: stereotyped traits, perceived abilities, and learning environment. Identifying implicit bias and imposter syndrome as components of these obstacles, we include a series of class activities designed to lessen the impact of implicit bias and imposter syndrome on our students in large-enrollment introductory computer programming courses. One element of assessing the success of our program is to use entry and exit surveys to gauge the change in students’ perceptions of their abilities and learning environment.

Previously, we investigated the difference between men’s and women’s perceptions of their abilities and the learning environments in introductory computing courses. We found a statistically significant association between gender and perception of self-efficacy, but not in how those perceptions change over the course of the term. We then investigated the differences between underrepresented minority (URM) students’ and non-URM students’ perceptions of their abilities and the learning environments in introductory computing courses. We found no statistically significant differences between URM and non-URM students; however, both groups showed slight decreases in feelings of inclusion for the courses included in the study. Our program wishes to increase feelings of inclusion; therefore, we propose to conduct a more nuanced investigation of individual paths through the introductory computer programming sequence at our institution.

Our research question is: How do student’s sense of community change over time through an introductory computer programming sequence?

Our data set is comprised of entry and exit survey data for five semesters of a three course introductory computing sequence. We plan to measure changes in survey responses from individual students as they progress from CS1 through CS2 to CS3. The survey data will be analyzed using mixed model ANOVA for repeated measures of questions on the student’s experiences in their undergraduate studies up to the point of when they took the survey. The results and analysis will be presented in this paper.

Alford, L. K., & Kamil, A., & Deorio, A. (2020, June), Student Sense of Community Through an Introductory Computer Programming Course Sequence Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35240

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015