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Approaches to Support Student Learning in Introductory Programming Laboratory Classes

LOW, ADAM,CHRISTOPHER (2010) Approaches to Support Student Learning in Introductory Programming Laboratory Classes. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (PhD Theses Adam Low) - Accepted Version


Objectives: This thesis will explore some innovative solutions to communication difficulties that exist in higher education teaching of introductory programming. Communication between a teacher and student is important, as it is the main opportunity where a student can ask a teacher questions about a particular problem they have, and a teacher can give feedback to direct them towards a solution. It is expected that through utilising technology in laboratory practical classes, communication between teachers and student can be improved.

Methods: This thesis primarily explores the possibilities of using student compiler and method invocation data, collected during a practical class and sent directly to a teacher. This data maybe beneficial as a method of allowing teachers to see if a student requires help. This thesis utilises a variety of research methods including questionnaires, observations of classroom interactions and collection of data recorded from student and teachers interactions with the technology. The approaches are used during an investigation into the current approaches of laboratory practical teaching, before progressing onto investigations using the technology developed that accompanies this thesis.

Results: The results identified that the majority of the students and teachers who used the technology felt that it improved their ability to communicate within laboratory practical classes. The teachers felt that they could use the data collected by the technology to view activity from the students and see a student’s progress. The teachers could interpret the data collected from the technology and students who needed help could be identified.

Conclusions: This thesis has demonstrated that technology has the potential to improve communication in laboratory classes, and enable teachers to support students more effectively. However, the technology developed in this thesis, does not eliminate the requirement for a teacher to interact with a student face-to-face, but rather its role is to act as an indicator of students who may need assistance.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Technology Enhanced Learning, Teaching Computer Programming, Active Learning
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of (2008-2017)
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Jun 2011 08:46

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