Project introduction and background information
The purpose of TOM is to increase the motivation amongst students and improve the learning results. TOM prescribed that the programmes should have 'integrated thematic modules' of 15EC. Therefore, software design and programming are offered to first-year 'Computer Science' (CS) and 'Business Information Technology' (BIT) students. CS students were more motivated to learn programming than BIT students, because of their prior knowledge.
The aim of this was to improve the performance of BIT students by helping them become independent learners. To achieve this, we conceived a new pedagogical design to induce metacognition cycles integrated with a mentoring scheme. To help students self-assess themselves and provide structure to the mentoring scheme, we offered the students a study plan, which is a structured view of the syllabus. We broke the learning objectives down into smaller topics, which are units to be learned in one day, and we assigned three student-friendly rubrics to each topic (entry, intermediate, and target) allowing the students to grade their own proficiency level. Every two weeks, students had to self-assess their proficiency in the topics and discuss it with their assigned mentor.
Objective and expected outcomes
The ultimate goal is to improve student’s learning of programming skills and concepts while forming them as independent learners. The intervention in the Pedagogical Design is based on Metacognition. The expected outcomes are all related to the quality of the learning experience and its outcomes, including various performance indicators (both qualitative and quantitative).
Results and learnings
The pass-rate almost doubled. Students voluntarily declared that the approach reduced the stress and helped them organize and track their study plans. The top-performer students saw it as innocuous and extra-work, while the students with lower performance saw it as supportive, inducer of structured plans, and friendly.
The approach must be reviewed to include motivational aspects for the top performer students. For the students with lower performance, it’s crucial to improve the technological support and provide better tools to check the progress of their learning.
After the initial experience in the academic year 2020-2021, we developed an entire system to support the self-assessment and improve track of their learning. The tool also slightly improves the visualization of their progress. In the current academic year this tool has been used in two courses (6ECs and 8ECs, respectively) and we will be able to analyse it starting from March 2022.