2001-03-30Konferenzveröffentlichung DOI: 10.18452/1041
How to learn introductory programming over Web
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
A part of the Virtual University of Finland, the eastern Finland universities offer high school students an opportunity to take their first 15 university credits of Computer Science over the Web. At the University of Joensuu courses consist of three parts: general introduction to computers (three credits), introduction to Computer Science (five credits), and programming (seven credits). Instruction is almost entirely delivered over the Web. The students follow a schedule given at the web site, learn the related chapters from their textbooks, and return exercises by strict deadlines. The students live as far as hundred kilometers away from the university and their local high schools have not been able to hire qualified programming teachers. We solved the problem by organizing on-line teachers at the university to answer students questions and assigning a tutor - with hardly any experience in programming - to encourage the students at the local school. To intensify the learning outcomes, we are planning to use three different learning tools in the web-based course environment: Excel, Jeliot, and BlueJ. Each of these can be used to visually understand a given program. In particular, the environments serve as virtual laboratories for real problems: the students can study their own programs. At the University of Joensuu, the course started in August 2000. Out of the 80 enrolled students, more than 65 were active after the first three months. Altogether, the course will take 16 months. Students activity and commitment to their studies indicate that the approach chosen to teach programming has proved efficient.
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