The Use of an Open-Ended Project to Improve the Student Experience in First Year Programming

TitleThe Use of an Open-Ended Project to Improve the Student Experience in First Year Programming
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsHulls, C., C. Rennick, S. Bedi, M. Robinson, and W. Melek
Conference NameProceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA)
AbstractPrior to 2010, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering students at the University of Waterloo were taught an introductory programming course using C++ in first year. Historically, the emphasis was on learning syntax; practising problem-solving was a distant second priority. In addition, many students were noticeably disengaged in lectures, and the assessments used were not authentic.Starting in 2010, a course project was implemented to address these concerns. The project was immediately well received by students, as evidenced by a noticeable number of students going well beyond the minimum project requirements and the variety of projects implemented. Since the project was introduced, the students have been able to successfully answer less structured final exam questions. The increase in problem-solving and thinking skills more than offsets the reduction in language-specific facts. The logistics, challenges and resources required to implement a project of this scope will be described
URLhttps://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/PCEEA/article/view/5737
DOI10.24908/pceea.v0i0.5737