Canonical explorations of 'Tel' environments for computer programming

Mather, Richard, Day, Nicholas Martin, Jones, Richard E, Lusuardi, Carlo, Maher, Kevin and Dexter, Barbara (2015) Canonical explorations of 'Tel' environments for computer programming. In: The European Conference on Technology in the Classroom, 2015, Brighton, United Kingdom.


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This paper applies a novel technique of canonical gradient analysis, pioneered in ecological sciences, with the aim of exploring student performance and behaviours (such as communication and collaboration) while undertaking formative and summative tasks in technology enhanced learning (TEL) environments for computer programming. The research emphasis is, therefore, on revealing complex patterns, trends, tacit communications and technology interactions associated with a particular type of learning environment, rather than the testing of discrete hypotheses. The study is based on observations of first year programming modules in BSc Computing and closely related joint-honours with software engineering, web and game development courses. This research extends earlier work, and evaluates the suitability of canonical approaches for exploring complex dimensional gradients represented by multivariate and technology-enhanced learning environments. The advancements represented here are: (1) an extended context, beyond the use of the ‘Ceebot’ learning platform, to include learning-achievement following advanced instruction using an industrystandard integrated development environment, or IDE, for engineering software; and (2) longitudinal comparison of consistency of findings across cohort years. Direct findings (from analyses based on code tests, module assessment and questionnaire surveys) reveal overall engagement with and high acceptance of collaborative working and of the TEL environments used, but an inconsistent relationship between deeply learned programming skills and module performance. The paper also discusses research findings in the contexts of established and emerging teaching practices for computer programming, as well as government policies and commercial requirements for improved capacity in computer-science related industries.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: ISSN: 2188 - 1138
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2016 15:03
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2021 05:59

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