Engaging students in programming

Corney, Malcolm W., Teague, Donna M., & Thomas, Richard N. (2010) Engaging students in programming. In Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, Vol. 103. Tony Clear and John Hamer, Eds., Australian Computer Society, Inc., Brisbane, pp. 63-72.

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Poor student engagement and high failure rates in first year units were addressed at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with a course restructure involving a fresh approach to introducing programming. Students’ first taste of programming in the new course focused less on the language and syntax, and more on problem solving and design, and the role of programming in relation to other technologies they are likely to encounter in their studies. In effect, several technologies that have historically been compartmentalised and taught in isolation have been brought together as a breadth-first introduction to IT.

Incorporating databases and Web development technologies into what used to be a purely programming unit gave students a very short introduction to each technology, with programming acting as the glue between each of them. As a result, students not only had a clearer understanding of the application of programming in the real world, but were able to determine their preference or otherwise for each of the technologies introduced, which will help them when the time comes for choosing a course major.

Students engaged well in an intensely collaborative learning environment for this unit which was designed to both support the needs of students and meet industry expectations. Attrition from the unit was low, with computer laboratory practical attendance rates for the first time remaining high throughout semester, and the failure rate falling to a single figure percentage.

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ID Code: 28720
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: introductory programming, IT course, student engagement, attrition, HERN
ISBN: 9781920682842
ISSN: 1445-1336
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Australian Computer Society, Inc.
Copyright Statement: This paper appeared at the Twelfth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2010), Brisbane, Australia, January 2010. Conferences in Research and Practice in Information Technology, Vol. 103. Tony Clear and John Hamer, Eds. Reproduction for academic, not-for-profit purposes permitted provided this text is included.
Deposited On: 19 Nov 2009 06:53
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:42

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