Through the Looking-Glass: Barriers, Motivations, and Desires of Non-Traditional Students Learning Programming in an Online CS1 Course

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Student demographics have been changing on college campuses for many years, and to reflect the most efficient methods of teaching the current target population, many institutions are offering online introductory programming courses (CS1). Additionally, due to the increasing number of computing jobs and national demands, we are seeing a surge of nontraditional students (aged over 25), entering the online CS1 courses. We are at a large metropolitan public research university, Florida International University (FIU), where 30% of the students are non-traditional students. However, the online CS1 course usually consists of 70-75% of non-traditional students. We carried out a study in that course for the last 5 semesters where we interviewed non-traditional students to better understand their characteristics and how those are related to their learning goals and performance. This paper is just an attempt to identify the unique characteristics of non-traditional students that can help Computing-ED researchers and admins to design online CS1 courses with appropriate pedagogy, so a better learning experience can be provided to them and retention rates can be increased. Hence, in this paper, we report our preliminary findings on characteristics of non-traditional students who enroll in CS1 course, what their goals and expectations are-how that may differ based on their major (CS majors and non-majors), pre-CS1 programming experience, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology, RESPECT 2020 - Proceedings
EditorsChristina Gardner-McCune, Nicki Washington, Edward Dillon, Gloria Washington, Jamie Payton
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728171722
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 10 2020
Event2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology, RESPECT 2020 - Virtual, Portland, United States
Duration: Mar 11 2020 → …

Publication series

Name2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology, RESPECT 2020 - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2020 Research on Equity and Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, and Technology, RESPECT 2020
CountryUnited States
CityVirtual, Portland
Period3/11/20 → …

Keywords

  • CS1
  • diversity
  • non-traditional
  • online course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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