Getting students to earnestly do reading, studying, and homework in an introductory programming class

Alex Edgcomb, Frank Vahid, Roman Lysecky, Susan Lysecky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Getting students to read and study before class, to be better prepared for lecture, or to enable a flipped classroom is a longstanding difficulty for teachers of introductory programming classes. Furthermore, getting students to do homework, consisting of small practice problems and questions, is also a long-standing difficulty without massive grading resources. And even then, preventing students from copying others' solutions is difficult as well. Today, the web enables new interactive learning material that is replacing past forms of textbooks and homework assignments, and students today commonly have access to needed devices and the internet. This paper provides data on student reading and homework completion rates for web-based interactive learning material we created that automatically records reading and homework activity by students. The data is for several thousand students at over 10 universities, for introductory programming classes in Java, Python, and C++. The data shows that, with an appropriate amount of awarded points, requiredreading completion rate was 84%, and auto-graded homework completion rate was 75%, varying somewhat based on how many course grade points those items were worth. Students on average spent about 10 minutes reading each section, and about 3 minutes per homework problem, both appropriate amounts for those items. Furthermore, we developed measures of whether students were earnestly attempting the reading and homeworks, versus just "cheating the system" to get course grade points. We describe those earnestness measures in this paper. With proper design and amount of assigned work, 80%-90% of students earnestly did the reading and homework activities, even when no penalty existed for cheating the system, and fewer than 3% blatantly cheated the system to get their points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages171-176
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346986
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2017
Event48th ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2017 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2017Mar 11 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Conference on Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education, ITiCSE

Other

Other48th ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2017
CountryUnited States
CitySeattle
Period3/8/173/11/17

Keywords

  • Homework
  • Introductory programming
  • Learning content
  • Reading
  • Student cheating
  • Student earnestness
  • Studying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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