Canonical Explorations of ‘Tel’ Environments for Computer Programming


This paper applies a novel technique of canonical gradient analysis, pioneered in ecological sciences, to explore student performance and behaviours (such as of communication and collaboration) while undertaking formative and summative tasks in technology enhanced learning (TEL) environments for computer programming. The emphasis of research is on discovering patterns, trends, tacit communications and technology interactions associated with a particular type of learning environment. The study is based on observations of first year programming modules in BSc Computing and closely related joint-honours courses in software engineering, web and game development. This extends an earlier investigation of the suitability of canonical approaches for exploring multivariate and technology-enhanced learning environments. The advancements presented here are: (1) a wider evaluation of learning environments, including learner responses following advanced instruction using an industry standard integrated development environment (IDE), for engineering software; and (2) longitudinal comparison of consistency of findings across cohort years. Direct findings (from analyses based on code tests, module assessment and questionnaire surveys) reveal overall engagement with collaborative working and acceptance of the TEL environments used, but an inconsistent relationship between deeply learned programming skills and module performance. Research findings are also discussed in the contexts of established and emerging teaching practices for computer programming, as well as government policies and commercial requirements for improved capacity in computer-science related industries.

Author Information
Richard Mather, Buckinghamshire New University, UK
Nicholas Day, Buckinghamshire New University, UK
Richard Jones, Buckinghamshire New University, UK
Carlo Lusuardi, Buckinghamshire New University, UK
Kevin Maher, Buckinghamshire New University, UK
Barbara Dexter, Buckinghamshire New University, UK

Paper Information
Conference: ECTC2015
Stream: Instructional Technology

This paper is part of the ECTC2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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