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Full report on challenges with learning to program and problem solve: an analysis of first year undergraduate Open University distance learning students' online discussions

Savage, Simon and Piwek, Paul (2019). Full report on challenges with learning to program and problem solve: an analysis of first year undergraduate Open University distance learning students' online discussions. The Open University, Milton Keynes.

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Abstract

Students who study problem solving and programming (in a language such as Python) at University level encounter a range of challenges, from low-level issues with code that won't compile to misconceptions about the threshold concepts and skills. The current study complements existing findings on errors, misconceptions, difficulties and challenges obtained from students after-the-fact through instruments such as questionnaires and interviews. In our study, we analysed the posts from students of a large cohort (1500) of first-year University distance learning students to an online 'Python help forum' - recording issues and discussions as the students encountered specific challenges. Posts were coded in terms of topics, and subsequently thematically grouped into python-related, problem solving/generic programming related, and module specific. This report documents the full set of topics and the statistics for each of them. We also provide examples from the forum discussions which illustrate the topics that were identified.

Item Type: Other
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
Keywords: Computing education; Computational thinking; Software engineering education; Adult education; Applied computing; Distance learning; E-learning; programming; Python; problem solving; online student discussions; challenges; misconceptions; threshold concepts; threshold skills
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Item ID: 68073
Depositing User: Paul Piwek
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 15:02
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2019 10:32
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/68073
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