Teaching introductory computer programming and choosing the proper tools and programming languages are challenging tasks. Most of the existing tools are not fully integrated into systems to support the teaching-learning processes. The present paper describes the usability evaluation of the Virtual Programming Lab module for Moodle (VPL-Moodle) based on a satisfaction questionnaire answered by 37 undergraduate students enrolled in CS1 and CS2 courses and 7 lecturers. Moreover, a heuristic evaluation performed by two specialists is also presented. Results of the descriptive and inferential analysis revealed mainly two things: a) the VPL-Moodle has a low level of usability in all five aspects analyzed by the students: satisfaction, efficiency, learnability, helpfulness, and environment control; and b) lecturers found some difficulties using the VPL-Moodle. A number of suggestions for the improvement of the VPL-Moodle interface are provided based on the findings of the paper.
This paper proposes and validates a short and simple Expectancy-Value-Cost scale, called EVC Light. The scale measures the motivation of students in computing courses, allowing the easy and weekly application across a course. One of the factors related directly to the high rate of failure and dropout in computing courses is student motivation. However, measuring motivation is complex, there are several scales already carried out to do that job, but only a few of them consider the longitudinal follow-up of motivation throughout the courses. The EVC Light was applied to 245 undergraduate students from four universities. The Omega coefficient, scale items intercorrelation, item-total correlation, and factor analysis are used to validate and measure the reliability of the instrument. Confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses supported the structure, consistency, and validity of the EVC Light scale. Moreover, a significant relationship between motivation and student results was identified, based mainly on the Expectancy and Cost factors.