Selected Publications

Previous research has found that programming assignments can produce strong emotional reactions in introductory programming students. These emotional reactions often have to do with the frustration of dealing with difficulties and how hard it can be to overcome problems. Not only are these emotional reactions powerful in and of themselves, they have also been shown to induce students to make self-efficacy judgments, which can in turn cause adaptive or maladaptive behaviors, depending on the valence of the judgment. While these results have been found in previous qualitative research, to date no one has tried to do a larger scale quantitative examination of these emotional reactions with introductory programming students. Furthermore, no one has tried to connect these emotional reactions systematically to student learning outcomes. Therefore, this study reports on the pilot use of a basic emotional reactions survey with a large class of undergraduate introductory programming students. Preliminary results are presented on how these emotional reactions affect students’ self-efficacy as well as their course outcomes.
In ICER 2017, 2017

Previous research in computer science education has demonstrated the importance of motivation for success in introductory programming. Theoretical constructs from self-regulated learning theory (SRL), which integrates several different types of metacognitive processes, as well as motivational constructs, have proved to be important predictors of success in most academic disciplines. These individual components of self-regulated learning (e.g., self-efficacy, metacognitive strategies) interact in complex ways to influence students’ affective states and behaviors, which in turn influence learning outcomes. These elements have been previously examined individually in novice programmers, but we do not have a comprehensive understanding of how SRL constructs interact to influence learning to program. This paper reports on a study that examined the interaction of self-efficacy, intrinsic and extrinsic goal orientations, and metacognitive strategies and their impact on student performance in a CS1 course. We also report on significant gender differences in the relationships between SRL constructs and learning outcomes. We found that student performance had the expected motivational and SRL precursors, but the interactions between these constructs revealed some unexpected relationships. Furthermore, we found that females’ self-efficacy had a different connection to programming performance than that of their male peers. Further research on success in introductory programming should take account of the unique and complex relationship between SRL and student success, as well as gender differences in these relationships that are specific to CS.
In ICER 2016, 2016

The problem of the lack of rigor in CS education research has frequently been discussed and examined. Previous reviews of the literature have examined rigor on both theoretical and methodological dimensions, among others. These reviews have also looked at differences in indicators of rigor between conference proceedings and journal publications. However, to date there is no comprehensive review that has examined the intersection of methodological and theoretical quality. This paper reports results from a literature review in which we analyzed both the use of theory and methodological rigor of four years of CS education research from the Computer Science Education (CSE) journal and the proceedings of the International Computing Education Research (ICER) conference. The goal was to provide an updated and expanded picture of the methodological quality and use of theory in the most rigorous CS education publications, as well as to compare between conference proceedings and journal publications on these dimensions. Our focus was on research that draws upon learning theory from education, psychology and other disciplines outside CS education. The results of our review show a different picture than earlier reviews. Focus on empirical results in conference proceedings articles has surpassed that of journal publications, and empirical studies are significantly more likely to make use of theory from outside CS education. Overall, our analysis shows a significant increase in the proportion of articles drawing on theory from outside CS education, compared to earlier literature reviews, whereas indicators of methodological quality show no such change.
In ICER 2016, 2016

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