Prior programming knowledge of students has a major impact on introductory programming courses. Those with prior experience often seem to breeze through the course. Those without prior experience see others breeze through the course and disengage from the material or drop out. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that novice student programming behavior can be modeled as a Markov process. The resulting transition matrix can then be used in machine learning algorithms to create clusters of similarly behaving students. We describe in detail the state machine used in the Markov process and how to compute the transition matrix. We compute the transition matrix for 665 students and cluster them using the k-means clustering algorithm. We choose the number of cluster to be three based on analysis of the dataset. We show that the created clusters have statistically different means for student prior knowledge in programming, when measured on a Likert scale of 1-5.
Previous studies have proposed many indicators to assess the effect of student engagement in learning and academic achievement but have not yet been clearly articulated. In addition, while student engagement tracking systems have been designed, they rely on the log data but not on performance data. This paper presents results of a non-machine learning model developed using ongoing formative assessment scores as indicators of student engagement. Visualisation of the classification tree results is employed as student engagement indicators for instructors to observe and intervene with students. The results of this study showed that ongoing assessment is related to student engagement and subsequent final programming exam performance and possible to identify students at-risk of failing the final exam. Finally, our study identified students impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. These were students who attended the final programming exam in the semester 2019-2020 and who scored well in formative assessments. Based on these results we present a simple student engagement indicator and its potential application as a student progress monitor for early identification of students at risk.
In this study we investigate the effects of long-term technology enhanced learning (TEL) in mathematics learning performance and fluency, and how technology enhanced learning can be integrated into regular curriculum. The study was conducted in five second grade classes. Two of the classes formed a treatment group and the remaining three formed a control group. The treatment group used TEL in one mathematics lesson per week for 18 to 24 months. Other lessons were not changed. The difference in learning performance between the groups tested using a post-test; for that, we used a mathematics performance test and a mathematics fluency test. The results showed that the treatment group using TEL got statistically significantly higher learning performance results compared to the control group. The difference in arithmetic fluency was not statistically significant even though there was a small difference in favor of the treatment group. However, the difference in errors made in the fluency test was statistically significant in favor of the treatment group.
Program visualization (PV) is potentially a useful method for teaching programming basics to novice programmers. However, there are very few studies on the effects of PV. We have developed a PV tool called ViLLE at the University of Turku. In this paper, multiple studies on the effects of the tool are presented. In addition, new qualitative data about students' feedback of using the tool is presented. Both, the results of our studies and the feedback indicate that ViLLE can be used effectively in teaching basic programming concepts to novice programmers.
This paper presents results from three interrelated studies focusing on introducing TRAKLA2 to students taking courses on data structures and algorithms at the University of Turku and \rAbo Akademi University in 2004. Using TRAKLA2 they got acquainted with a completely new system for solving exercises that provided them with automatic feedback and the possibility to resubmit their solutions. Besides comparing the students' learning results, a survey was made with 100 students on the changes in their attitudes towards web-based learning environments. In addition, a usability evaluation was conducted in a human-computer interaction laboratory.
Our results show that TRAKLA2 considerably increased the positive attitudes towards web-based learning. According to students' self-evaluations, the best learning results are achieved by combining traditional exercises with web-based ones. In addition, the numerical course statistics were clearly better than in 2003 when only pen-and-paper exercises in class were used. The results from the usability test were also very positive: no severe usability problems were revealed; in fact, the results indicate that the system is very easy to learn and user-friendly as a whole.