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Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov. 9 2001 Teaching a programming language using communication technologies mediated by computer some results and reflections Riccardo.

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Presentation on theme: "Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov. 9 2001 Teaching a programming language using communication technologies mediated by computer some results and reflections Riccardo."— Presentation transcript:

1 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Teaching a programming language using communication technologies mediated by computer some results and reflections Riccardo Mazza, SUPSI-DIE, USI Federico Flückiger, SUPSI - Servizio per la didattica dei nuovi media Carlo Lepori, SUPSI-DIE, IDSIA Lorenzo Cantoni, USI-Scienze della Comunicazione Osvaldo Arrigo, ISPFP

2 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Structure of the presentation Description of the Swiss Virtual Campus and the MACS project How we created the learning community Tools used Facts and figures of the Java on line course Some outcomes

3 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Swiss virtual campus A national program founded by the Swiss Confederation (30 Million CHF) for years Universities participate with 50% of costs. 50 ongoing projects, almost every Swiss university participates Three main aims: Take advantage of the opportunities now available through new information and communication technology Strengthen collaboration between the universities, a system of credits should be set up Develop high-quality, multilingual, teaching materials and improve the quality of student learning processes SUPSI participate in 7 projects as partner, heads of MACS project

4 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov The MACS Project A Swiss Virtual Campus project 2 year project ( ) Project partners USI – Università Svizzera italiana, facoltà di Scienze della Comunicazione ISPFP - Istituto svizzero di pedagogia per la formazione professionale Eduswiss - University Partnership for Postgraduate Education IDSIA - Istituto Dalle Molle di studi sullintelligenza artificiale (USI-SUPSI) CSCS - Centro svizzero di calcolo scientifico

5 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Project Goals Shift continuous education courses in the Master of Advanced Computer Sciences in on-line mode Extend target people (Northern Switzerland, Italy, Europe, …) To take advantage of on-line features (no travels, no fixed hours, …) Plan to introduce new learning technologies in other post-grade and basis courses Enhance course quality

6 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Choice of two types of course Master's course have simpler situation than basis education courses Computer science courses have an experienced audience 2001: The Java programming language wide interest ("beginner course") in Italian offered mainly in Ticino, near Italy and to italophones in Switzerland) 2002: Data Mining advanced course in English open worldwide

7 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov The java-on-line course Covers the fundamentals of Java programming language Language of the course is Italian Target students are people already skilled in programming languages Started on March 20 th 2001 (first F-T-F meeting), finished on May 29 th 2001 (exams)

8 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov How we created the learning community Mixed approach: On-line lessons Face-to-face or synchronous meetings introduction mid-time meeting weekly chat meetings examination (in presence!) Temporal structure red thread/fil rouge

9 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov How we created the learning community Different kinds of learning activities: automatic comprehension tests open exercises individual (closed) exercises group assignments Study materials completely online

10 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Communication Tools used Asyncronous tools Discussion forums Most used (and important) communication tool More of 600 messagges posted Mail Expecially for 1:1 communications Calendar Used for notification of events, chat, … Sycronous tools Chat (syncronous communication) Each week, 1 hour, with specific topic of discussion

11 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Evaluation Evaluation data: surveys (before, during, at the end and later) monitoring of students access and of the various collaborative activities server logfiles and platform (WebCT) statistical tools feedback through the solution of individual exercises qualitative analysis of the dialogues both during the chats sessions (3) and in the forums (616 messages) Interviews of the teacher/tutor and of some students

12 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov The java-on-line course: facts and figures 24 students participated 23 male and 1 female 2 from Italy (Milano, Reggio Emilia) 1 from northern Switzerland (Zürich) 1 from Val Poschiavo (Graubünden) 2 students dropped-out during the course Final exam: 17 students present 16 students out of 17 passed the test

13 13 Facts and figures: access by day of the week

14 14 Facts and figures: access by hour

15 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Facts and figures: articles posted in discussion forums

16 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Facts and figures: articles read in discussions

17 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Facts and figures: role of the teacher The role of the teacher becomes even more important and also more difficult and time- consuming promote critical discussion between students moderate weekly chats control students activities evaluate closed exercises Teacher dedicated 62 hours for the on-line course, instead of 48 hours required in ex-cathedra mode

18 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov Facts and figures: students opinion about the course At a final survey, 12 (out of 16 respondents) answered that they were sufficiently satisfied, 2 very satisfied, and only 2 not that much The time flexibility is the most appreciated feature The difference among learners background generated some problems in discussion forum, especially for advanced users

19 Riccardo Mazza - GSFP Nov What we learned from this experience... A mixed approach (on-line and face-to-face) can be useful to avoid some typical problems in distance learning (students feels alone, lack of interactions, …) Is useful to create a fil-rouge of the course to help students to maintain the pace during the study Teacher needs to spend more time in a on-line course rather than in ex-cathedra course Students have more time to spend in solving exercises and to collaborate in discussions The supervision of teacher in discussions and synchronous events is fundamental


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