T8-T2-4 - An Effective Approach to Teach an Introductory Computer Science Course with Computational Thinking and Flow-Chart Based Visual Programming2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
1 Morgan State University
This Research to Practice Full Paper presents our experience with positive outcomes (increase motivation and retention) in teaching an introductory programming course in Python during the Fall 2019 semester. Without reinventing the wheel, we infused few well established pedagogies by integrating and evaluating Computational Thinking (CT) skill in a meaningful way with the existing curriculum alongside programming and teaching general problem-solving techniques with a flowchart-based programming environment (RAPTOR) and without using specific programming concepts or languages at the beginning. Our intended aim here is not only to teach a programming language per se, but also to teach at the beginning the different ways of problem solving, logical reasoning, algorithm design, and programming constructs with minimal or no emphasis on syntax. A positive learning experience is successfully developed for our students by using appropriate teaching strategies and establishing a conducive and dynamic classroom environment. To evaluate the impact of this infusion, a pre- and post-survey as well as a pre- and post-Computational Thinking test were conducted on student cohort in different sections. The statistical evaluation of the survey and test results as well as several formative and summative assessments show evidence to conclude that the proposed pedagogical approach increases student engagement and motivation in learning and improves student’s problem solving and coding skills.