Personalizing Computer Science programming with technology

effort and persistence, recruiting interest

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Celina Berg uses a program, PrairieLearn (PL) to assist in the course Computer Sciences 110: Fundamentals of Programming. Berg takes a student-centric approach by providing flexibility in the learning process using this learning technology. Students can choose when to engage with assessments and receive instant feedback, ensuring that the learning experience aligns with their preferences and peak learning times (7.1; 8.4). There is also a traditional option of office hours if a student prefers to meet with the instructor directly.

Berg also takes a proactive stance in providing activities relevant to students’ interests and goals. In a large introductory class, catering to a variety of interests can be challenging. Berg addresses this challenge by designing assignments that draw data from diverse backgrounds, including TV/movie, music, and sports data (7.2). PL can then randomize tests drawing from these large diverse data sets. By enabling students to work with data sets that align with their interests, it empowers them to set and pursue goals that are meaningful and relevant, nurturing the development of executive functions.

PL also creates a safe and supportive learning environment that minimizes threats or distractions. Its randomized formative assessments allow students to repeat assessments with slight variations, promoting a mastery-based learning approach without undue stress (7.3). The program also offers assessments requiring reasoning at various levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, from remembering and understanding to applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. This not only supports diverse cognitive processes but also ensures that students can build a strong foundation before progressing to higher-order thinking (8.2). Berg includes pre-lecture quizzes, weekly lab exercises and assignment exercises as well to provide multiple opportunities and levels of assessment.

Celina Berg

Computer Science

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This post was last updated:

January 22, 2024

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