We have implemented our first programming course as an on-line course. All course material is delivered by using our learning management platform. The material contains an e-book where all the theory is explained and embeds automatically assessed programming assignments with immediate feedback. Our course design is completely learner-centered. The students work according to their personal weekly schedules and the teaching assistants are available
upon request in the multi-purpose classroom.
We apply a criterion referenced grading scheme where students do different assignments, according to their abilities. The assignments are divided into four categories according to the cognitive domains they address. In addition, we explicitly ask each student to choose their learning goals and therefore the grading rules guide the students to choose the assignments to be completed. This was designed to support both struggling and over performing students by providing a personal learning experience despite our huge teaching groups.
The course is taught for extremely large and heterogeneous teaching groups. Illustration 1 presents the diversity of the teaching group. The vertical axis illustrates that where as the computer science students build almost all of their professional skills on top of their ability to program, the students in many other fields just need to understand what programming is. The horizontal axis illustrates that the students' previous programming skills vary greatly: most of the students start with no previous programming knowledge, but the teaching group also includes students who have been programming in high school and their free time. All of these students are attending the same course, and hence our goal is to meet the needs of all these student groups in our pedagogical design.Develop communication and collaboration skills within international teams.
Please provide a more detailed description of the innovation in teaching and learning with information about who was involved, what method was adopted, the timeframe, etc. Please include relevant hyperlinks to websites related to the case study (maximum of 250 words)
There are 120 programming assignments, which we divided into four categories: category A being the easiest and D being most difficult. The grading rules are a simple table that sets the points requirements for each category for each grade. i.e. for grade 3 you need to collect 500 A points, 800 B points. etc. This approach is not programming course specific but applicable also in other contexts.
Illustration 2 presents two simplified figures on how the course can proceed. The time-axis of the illustrations runs horizontally from left to right and there are a number of assignments on different levels each week. In the beginning of the course there are mainly elementary and basic assignments and in the end applied and advanced. Figure 2a illustrates a student who has set a very low target grade and only worked on level A and B assignments. Figure 2b illustrates a student who has had prior programming experience already when starting the course and thus has skipped all the A-level assignments. When comparing these two accomplishments, we can almost say that these two students have taken a different course because their learning paths differ so much from each other despite they are taking the same course.
The major outcomes of the case study are:
It is possible to arrange a personalized learning experience despite the learning group is huge. The key is to arrange everything student-centered instead of being teacher-centered. Flexibility in the course requirements is important for students. Allowing the students to define their goals themselves gained positive feedback from students.
Essi lsohanni, +358408490717
University of Helsinki, Department of Computer Science
Tampere University is one of the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. Almost all internationally recognised fields of study are represented at this university. Combining world-class research and innovation activities; Multidisciplinary learning and lifelong partnerships; Unique expertise in developing applications that benefit industry, business and the public sector.More information