Pedagogy of introductory computer programming : a people-first approach

Teague, Madonna Margaret (2011) Pedagogy of introductory computer programming : a people-first approach. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Students struggle with learning to program. In recent years, not only has there been a dramatic drop in the number of students enrolling in IT and Computer Science courses, but attrition from these courses continues to be significant. Introductory programming subjects traditionally have high failure rates and as they tend to be core to IT and Computer Science courses can be a road block for many students to their university studies. Is programming really that difficult — or are there other barriers to learning that have a serious and detrimental effect on student progression?

In-class experiments were conducted in introductory programming units to confirm our hypothesis that that pair-programming would benefit students' learning to program. We investigated the social and cultural barriers to learning programming by questioning students' perceptions of confidence, difficulty and enjoyment of programming. The results of paired and non-paired students were compared to determine the effect of pair-programming on learning outcomes.

Both the empirical and anecdotal results of our experiments strongly supported our hypothesis.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 46255
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Roe, Paul & Smith, Glenn
Keywords: introductory programming, learning to program, programming pedagogy, collaborative learning, pair-programming
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2011 03:17
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2011 03:17

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