Computers in the CS1 Classroom

William T. Tarimo, Fatima Abu Deeb, Timothy J. Hickey


There are two basic approaches to flipping an introduction to programming class (CS1). One involves requiring all students to bring computers to class and to work alone or in groups to solve programming problems. The other approach is to ban computers from the classroom and to require students to solve programming problems on paper. In both approaches the students’ attempts are shared with the class and discussed. In this work, we describe an experiment in which we compared these two approaches for a large programming class. We found that the use of computers had no statistically significant effect on the students’ learning outcomes, enjoyment of the material, self-assessment of their understanding, use of teaching assistant resources, or self-estimate of how many hours they invested outside of the classroom. We did find that a statistically significant number of students preferred problem solving with friends using computers rather than on paper. We also found that the instructor had much more detailed information about individual student’s interaction in class when computers were used, since all student interaction with the coding tools could be logged and analysed. We conclude that, although many faculty are wary of requiring computer use in large classes, there is evidence that students prefer it, it does not negatively affect learning outcomes, and with appropriate tools and pedagogy, it gives the instructor a much deeper and more nuanced view of student performance in the class.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

T. Tarimo W., Abu Deeb F. and J. Hickey T. (2015). Computers in the CS1 Classroom . In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU, ISBN 978-989-758-108-3, pages 67-74. DOI: 10.5220/0005436600670074

in Bibtex Style

author={William T. Tarimo and Fatima Abu Deeb and Timothy J. Hickey},
title={Computers in the CS1 Classroom},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,},

in EndNote Style

JO - Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Computer Supported Education - Volume 2: CSEDU,
TI - Computers in the CS1 Classroom
SN - 978-989-758-108-3
AU - T. Tarimo W.
AU - Abu Deeb F.
AU - J. Hickey T.
PY - 2015
SP - 67
EP - 74
DO - 10.5220/0005436600670074