T9-FY3-1 - A Brief Introduction of Python to Freshman Engineering Students Using Multimedia Applications

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Chao Wang1
1 Arizona State University

This Research to Practice Full Paper presents the experience and evaluation of teaching python to freshman engineering students in an Introduction to Engineering course. Most students enrolled in this course are first-semester aerospace, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering students, with one third (more than half in female students) have zero prior programming experience. A four-week module was developed to teach Python during four 50-minute lecture periods through multimedia applications. Situational Motivation Scale (SIMS) survey, an instrument to measure four types of motivation (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, external regulation and amotivation) based on Self-Determination Theory (SDT), was administered weekly at the end of the Python lectures. An end-of-semester survey was also given to collect student feedback on the Python module. Survey results reveal that the module achieved the goal of introducing Python programming to freshman engineering students of all majors, with most students exhibiting positive motivational responses to the Python activities due to perceived value, enjoyment and potential future use. However, there were some experiencing less motivation due to a lack of knowledge on programming basics.