T6-FY1-2 - An Exploratory Study on the Availability of Open Educational Resources to Support the Teaching and Learning of Programming

3. Research Full Paper
William Simão de Deus1 , Ellen Francine Barbosa1
1 Instituto de Ciências Matemáticas e de Computação - Universidade de São Paulo

This research full paper presents an exploratory study on how open educational resources (OERs) are being used to support teaching and learning of programming concepts.

Currently, programming is considered a fundamental and common discipline for many undergraduate courses to support student development, especially in the area of computing and engineering. In addition, many countries are suggesting and proposing initiatives to disseminate programming education to children and young people, realizing that knowing how to program will be an essential skill in the near future.

At the same time, the literature shows that teaching and learning programming is not an easy activity. Traditionally, teaching a student how to program involves different stages of preparation and use of different supporting materials. Throughout the teaching process, the teacher is involved in activities such as preparing presentations, correcting exercises and creating projects, which requires a lot of concentration and effort, due to its complexity.

In this context, OERs emerge. In short, OERs are free and open teaching materials made available on the internet. These resources are licensed under regulations that encourage their use, reuse and sharing between people for educational purposes. Additionally, OERs are known to have different types and forms, such as textbooks, courses, exercises, software, etc. Because of these characteristics, OERs have a huge potential to support teachers during programming classes, offering, for instance, presentations that can be personalized; exercise ideas; code snippets; etc.

Despite the great potential, the adoption of OERs by teachers is not common yet. Some issues justify this scenario; the first is that many teachers are not familiar with OERs reality yet. The second issue refers to the difficult of recovering relevant resources, since OERs do not have a standard for titles, abstracts or keywords that can be used during the search. Finally, it is difficult to exactly know how many resources exists and which of them are available for use, reuse and sharing.

Considering this context, we have investigated the use of OER in the teaching and learning of programming concepts. Initially, we looked at which internet sources (sites, repositories, etc.) had the highest concentration of resources on programming. So next, we created crawlers that extracted information about the resources from those sources. Thus, through the use of descriptive statistics we identify the main programming languages, types of resources, licenses, restrictions, use, reuse and sharing.

We believe that the results obtained from our study can significantly contribute to increase the dissemination of OERs in the area of programming, providing and overview of the existing resources, identifying the main programming languages and materials available to teachers.