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Teaching programming with an event-driven programming language – problems and considerations. University of Wales Institute Cardiff Cardiff School of Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching programming with an event-driven programming language – problems and considerations. University of Wales Institute Cardiff Cardiff School of Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching programming with an event-driven programming language – problems and considerations. University of Wales Institute Cardiff Cardiff School of Management. Jason Williams jjwilliams@uwic.ac.ukjjwilliams@uwic.ac.uk Richard Adlam radlam@uwic.ac.ukradlam@uwic.ac.uk Lynne Norris-Jones lnorris@uwic.ac.uklnorris@uwic.ac.uk Kelvin Hughes kmhughes@uwic.ac.ukkmhughes@uwic.ac.uk

2 Introduction Event driven programming is commonly used as a first language. Novel interfaces with controls helps in gaining the students interest. Develop small applications in a relatively short amount of time. Industry often demands students with skills in visual programming languages.

3 Introduction Perceived problems Focus on the controls, events and properties. Less focus on basic constructs of sequence, selection and iteration. Undermines logic of programming for future work.

4 Introduction Aim Document the problems associated with teaching programming using event driven programming languages. Evaluate teaching programming with and without the tools. Develop a model for teaching using an event driven programming language.

5 Method

6 Students for 2006 (n=41) and 2007 (n=60) intake 2006 with controls, 2007 without Results for first 3 assignments Questionnaire Mann-Whitney analysis Interview Mixed-method approach try to neutralise bias

7 Results – Assignment Marks

8 Results Assignment Questions Sets of questions to do each week for Assignment 1&2. Similar questions, but 2007 didnt use controls. Assignment 3 – similar assignment with both using controls.

9 Results – Assignment Marks No significant differences between years

10

11 Results – Assignment Marks More students with A grade Less students failing

12 Results - Questionnaires

13 Understanding – Do students understand how to program with controls in EDPL. Perceptions – What do students think of EDPL. Confusion – Do controls in EDPL confuse students? Learning technique – How do they prioritise the use controls in EDPL. Strongly Agree – Agree - Dont know – Disagree - Strongly Disagree 1 2 3 4 5

14 Results - Questionnaires Understanding - Do students understand how to program with controls in EDPL. 1. The controls in VB are more important than things like loops and If Statements. 2. I felt that I understood how to program in VB by the end of the first term. 3. Controls in VB are just as important as the programming. 4. I can develop good programs in VB without any programming. 5. I can develop a program in VB with only one control on the form. P<0.05

15 Results - Questionnaires 2006 students thought they understood programming by end of 1 st term. Marks would disagree. False sense of understanding. 2006 students thought that they could develop a program using 1 control (20% difference). Actually no need for any controls. Differentiation between programming and controls.

16 Results - Questionnaires Perceptions - What do students think of EDPL 6. I felt more comfortable setting control properties rather than programming in VB. 7. You dont need controls in VB to program. 8. Setting control properties in VB is as important as the programming. 9. I spend just as much time on designing the screen in VB as I do with programming. 10. I spend a lot of time on designing the user interface in VB when I program. P<0.05

17 Results - Questionnaires Setting control properties in VB is as important as the programming. 64.1% of 2006 students agreed Too much focus on controls I spend a lot of time on designing the user interface in VB when I program. Large percentage of students agreed with this Over emphasis on moving controls around

18 Results - Questionnaires You dont need controls in VB to program. Students think that controls are always needed Unaware of running programs without controls Surprising for 2007 students

19 Results - Questionnaires Confusion - Do controls in EDPL confuse students? 11. I found the controls in VB confusing. 12. I found it difficult to understand how the programming linked to controls in VB. 13. I can change the appearance of controls through programming in VB. 14. I feel that the controls in VB are difficult to use. 15. I try not to use too many controls in VB when I program. P<0.05

20 Results - Questionnaires I found it difficult to understand how the programming linked to controls in VB. 2007 students disagreed more than 2006. 2007 student had a better understanding of controls. I can change the appearance of controls through programming in VB. Much focus on this with 2006 students 2007 students indifferent answer More focus with 2006 students on controls

21 Results - Questionnaires I feel that the controls in VB are difficult to use. All students happy with using controls. I try not to use too many controls in VB when I program. 2007 agreed with this statement. More focus on programming, less on the controls. Less confusion on how controls used and their purpose.

22 Results - Questionnaires Learning technique – How do they prioritise the use controls in EDPL. 16. I find it easier to program in VB without using controls. 17. I design the screen in VB before thinking about the programming. 18. I dont need to use a lot of controls when I program in VB. 19. The layout of the form is more important than the programming in VB. 20. Controls are as important as the programming in VB. P<0.05

23 Results - Questionnaires I find it easier to program in VB without using controls. Most students disagreed with this More so with 2007 students I design the screen in VB before thinking about the programming. 2006 students focused more on screen design 2007 students disagreed No student strongly disagreed – worrying!

24 Results - Questionnaires The layout of the form is more important than the programming in VB. More 2007 students agreed with this 2006 students disagreed Undermines findings so far, but interesting area for further study? Controls are as important as the programming in VB. All students recognise the importance of controls in VB

25 Results - Interviews

26 I found it easier without controls. Id like to do some more proper programming. I was OK until we started using text boxes and stuff. I spent far too long on designing the screen. I liked creating the interface more than the programming.

27 Results - Interviews Themes Initially, controls confused students. Students spent far too much time designing the interface. 2007 students comfortable with the basic programming constructs. Enjoyed creating the screen, apart form above issues.

28 Results - Interviews Themes Discussion on what was more important – controls/programming. 2007 students more comfortable with programming environment. 2006 students struggled linking code to the controls.

29 Discussion

30 No significant differences with results, but an overall increase in marks with 2007 students. More A grade students and less failures in 2007. 2007 students had a clearer understanding on how controls were used with programming. Students enjoyed using controls.

31 Discussion The addition of controls took focus away from the programming and all students focused more on the design. 2007 students could program better with controls. All students, once shown controls, spent a lot of time on designing screens. 2007 students had a better understanding of programming.

32 Conclusions

33 Event driven programming languages make programming interesting for students. Too much attention on controls confuses/distract students. Controls introduced after understanding the basics.

34 Conclusions In my experience the biggest deficiency with many programmers taken on from universities is probably their lack of analysis skills in being able to develop appropriate algorithms. This may stem from an over-emphasis on interface development skills at university. Software Development Manager with Logicom

35 Teaching programming with an event-driven programming language – problems and considerations. University of Wales Institute Cardiff Cardiff School of Management. Jason Williams jjwilliams@uwic.ac.ukjjwilliams@uwic.ac.uk Richard Adlam radlam@uwic.ac.ukradlam@uwic.ac.uk Lynne Norris-Jones lnorris@uwic.ac.uklnorris@uwic.ac.uk Kelvin Hughes kmhughes@uwic.ac.ukkmhughes@uwic.ac.uk


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