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ERIC Number: EJ1144842
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0018-9359
Enhancing Practice and Achievement in Introductory Programming with a Robot Olympics
Scott, Michael James; Counsell, Steve; Lauria, Stanislao; Swift, Stephen; Tucker, Allan; Shepperd, Martin; Ghinea, Gheorghita
IEEE Transactions on Education, v58 n4 p249-254 Nov 2015
Computer programming is notoriously difficult to learn. To this end, regular practice in the form of application and reflection is an important enabler of student learning. However, educators often find that first-year B.Sc. students do not readily engage in such activities. Providing each student with a programmable robot, however, could be used to facilitate application and reflection since, potentially, robots facilitate engaging learning experiences while providing immediate and intuitive feedback. This paper explores whether an introductory course centered upon programming personal robots in preparation for an end-of-course event day--a Robot Olympics--can help students to, first, engage in programming practice more frequently and, second, improve the quality of their code. A survey was conducted to examine the students' programming practice behavior, and students' final coursework submissions were also reviewed for aspects of program quality. The findings from this cohort were compared to a reference group from a previous cohort that shared similar learning objectives and entry requirements, but had focused on Web programming instead of using robots. The results reveal statistically significant increases in programming practice compared to the reference group. Furthermore, being enrolled in the course that culminated in the Robot Olympics was a significant predictor of two aspects of program quality: functional coherence and sophistication. This suggests that robot-centered courses can promote engagement with, and enhance some aspects of, programming practice.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A