Studio-Based Computer Supported Collaborative Learning
Myneni, Lakshman Sundeep
Type of Degreethesis
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The field of computing is experiencing a significant decline in incoming majors. According to the latest reports, the main reasons for this decline are (a) computing is too often related to programming, and (b) introductory computing education is too closely tied to programming languages. The teaching methodologies that are in place now focus mainly on programming skills instead of problem solving and design skills. To address these issues, we have explored a new pedagogical approach called studio-based learning. Adapted from architectural education, this instructional model emphasizes learning activities in which students (a) design computational solutions to problems that lend themselves to multiple solution strategies, and (b) present and justify their solutions to their instructors and peers for critical review and discussion. In this research, three web-based systems (Peer Review System , Survey Data Collection System and Solution Upload System) were designed and built to support studio-based assignments and labs in two computing courses CS2 (COMP 2210) and CS3 (COMP3270). A web-based portal was also designed that enables the studio-based learning community to communicate and collaborate on a regular basis. We performed data analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of studio-based instruction on students' learning and attitudes when compared to traditional instruction. Analyses of student performance data showed that students learned better in a full-fledged studio implementation when compared to a partial studio implementation of CS2. Analyses of student attitude and motivation survey data showed that students in the full-fledged studio implementation of CS2 had higher levels of sense of community, extrinsic motivation, self regulation and peer learning compared to the partial studio implementation. However, we found that student learning was unchanged in CS3 between studio and traditional implementations. Also, though the critical thinking ability of students improved in the studio implementation, their extrinsic motivation, efficacy and sense of community decreased. Possible reasons for these findings and future work are discussed.