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WorldCist'18 - 6th World Conference on Information Systems and Technologies

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Fostering Students-Driven Learning of Computer Programming with an Ensemble of E-learning Tools

Learning through practice is crucial to acquire a complex skill. Nevertheless, learning is only effective if students have at their disposal a wide range of exercises that cover all the course syllabus and if their solutions are promptly evaluated and given the appropriate feedback. Currently the teaching-learning process in complex domains, such as computer programming, is characterized by an extensive curricula and a high enrolment of students. This poses a great workload for faculty and teaching assistants responsible for the creation, delivering and assessment of student exercises. In order to address these issues, we created an e-learning framework - called Ensemble - as a conceptual tool to organize and facilitate technical interoperability among systems and services in domains that use complex evaluation. These domains need a diversity of tools, from the environments where exercises are solved, to automatic evaluators providing feedback on the attempts of students, not forgetting the authoring, management and sequencing of exercises. This paper presents and analyzes the use of Ensemble for managing the teaching-learning process in an introductory programming course at ESEIG - a school of the Polytechnic of Porto. An experiment was conducted to validate a set of hypotheses regarding the expected gains: increase in number of solved exercises, increase class attendance, improve final grades. They support the conclusion that the use of this e-learning framework for the practice-based learning has a positive impact on the acquisition of complex skills, such as computer programming.

Ricardo Queirós

José Paulo Leal
CRACS & INESC-Porto LA, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto


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