Voluntary participation in discussion forums as an engagement indicator: an empirical study of teaching first-year programming

Ritu Sharma, Haifeng Shen, Robert Goodwin

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Computer programming is a required skill for most STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students. However, teaching novices programming has long been considered a big challenge by computer science educators as manifested by the observation that first-year programming topics tend to have a higher failure rate than other first-year topics. Existing studies have discovered that lack of engagement in learning programming is a key determinant of a student's poor performance. Therefore, it is beneficial to perceive a student's lack of engagement so that appropriate actions can be taken ahead of time. However, first year topics especially programming topics usually have very large enrolments, making it hard for a lecturer to keep track of each individual student's engagement level. As learning management systems (LMS) have been widely adopted by universities, in this paper we suggest using a student's voluntary participation in a programming topic's discussion forum provided by LMS as an engagement indicator so that the lecturer can constantly monitor and re-engage those who present low or no engagement. This recommendation is based on an empirical study of a first-year programming topic that reveals a positive correlation between one's voluntary participation in peer interaction through the topic's discussion forum and one's learning outcome in the topic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages489-493
    Number of pages5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    EventThe 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction -
    Duration: 29 Nov 2016 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceThe 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction
    Period29/11/16 → …

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  • Cite this

    Sharma, R., Shen, H., & Goodwin, R. (2016). Voluntary participation in discussion forums as an engagement indicator: an empirical study of teaching first-year programming. 489-493. Paper presented at The 28th Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, . https://doi.org/10.1145/3010915.3010967