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Summer Coding Camp: Curriculum, Experiences, and Evaluation

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Computing and Information Technology Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Computing and Information Technology

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Paea LePendu University of California, Riverside Orcid 16x16

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Paea LePendu is a Professor of Teaching in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of California, Riverside.

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Cecilia Cheung University of California, Riverside

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Mariam Salloum University of California, Riverside

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Pamela Sheffler University of California, Riverside


Kelly Downey University of California, Riverside

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I have a masters degree in electrical engineering. After working in industry, I found a passion for education. I am currently a lecturer at UC, Riverside for the computer science department.

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Many education-related organizations in the U.S., from the National Science Foundation down to local districts, has been pushing to introduce computer science concepts into K-12. Nevertheless, many students complete high school never having the chance to learn CS.

We have created a summer coding camp for high-school students (including 8th graders entering 9th grade) and designed a multi-year study to assess its effectiveness as an informal learning environment, based on theories of human motivation such as Self-Determination Theory.

The camp is a 1-week immersion experience, 9am to 5pm with food and activities, that introduces basic programming via MIT APP Inventor. Lecture material and in-class exercises draw upon meaningful applications, many appealing to "social good." One unique aspect is the inclusion of professional and career development activities that engage students and broaden perspectives on CS and its applications. For example, the camp includes a college information session, alumni Skype and in-person talks, off-site visits to nearby companies, and research talks and demos by faculty.

Using a pre-and-post survey design, the current study examines the effects of the camp on student self-efficacy and interest in computing, as well as general school engagement and motivation. Results confirm that participation in the summer camp increased students' self-efficacy and interest in computing, enhanced engagement in school on topics in general, and strengthened intrinsic motivation for completing schoolwork. The effects were similar for boys and girls.

LePendu, P., & Cheung, C., & Salloum, M., & Sheffler, P., & Downey, K. (2021, July), Summer Coding Camp: Curriculum, Experiences, and Evaluation Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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