About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1768-1772
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-612-7578-6
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain

A COMPETITIVE LEARNING STRATEGY IN TEACHING PROGRAMMING TO STUDENTS OF MATHEMATICS

M. Arevalillo-Herráez, X. Benavent, R. Ferris

Universidad de Valencia (SPAIN)
Students entering the first level of a university degree come from an educational system which is substantially different. University education means less control and hence a higher degree of freedom and many students fail at managing this freedom adequately. The importance of providing a smooth transition is usually disregarded by many university lecturers who argue that they are mature students and thus should be able to schedule their available time. We believe that students at this level still need a strong guidance and require the presence of reference points or milestones so that the lecturer can control their progress and the students can control their own learning process.

In this paper, we describe the strategies used to control the student’s progress in a programming module delivered in the first level of the Mathematics degree at the University of Valencia (Spain) and how competitive learning strategies have helped to increase the motivation of students and make them aware of their knowledge with respect to other students in the class.

In particular, we have made used of competitive assessments during some laboratory sessions. At the start of these tests, students are given a specification of a simple computer game they have to implement, together with an executable file of the game already implemented. This specification contains the basic requirements that need to be fulfilled to achieve a passing grade. All solutions submitted during the session are ranked by score. The first implementation in the ranking is assigned the maximum mark, and the last which achieved at least the basic requirements the minimum passing grade. Other results in between are scaled linearly between these two marks according to their ranking positions. To avoid that students lose motivation, sessions were carefully designed so that a basic solution is easily achievable. The marks obtained in the competitions have an important impact on the mark for the laboratory sessions.

The main benefits associated with the use of this technique are as follows: the competitions constituted a milestone for the learning process; they helped developing a sense of a team; students acquired a global perspective of their own learning in comparison with the rest of the class; and plagiarism was avoided.

@InProceedings{AREVALILLOHERRAEZ2009ACO,
author = {Arevalillo-Herr{\'{a}}ez, M. and Benavent, X. and Ferris, R.},
title = {A COMPETITIVE LEARNING STRATEGY IN TEACHING PROGRAMMING TO STUDENTS OF MATHEMATICS},
series = {3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-612-7578-6},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {9-11 March, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {1768-1772}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Arevalillo-Herráez AU - X. Benavent AU - R. Ferris
TI - A COMPETITIVE LEARNING STRATEGY IN TEACHING PROGRAMMING TO STUDENTS OF MATHEMATICS
SN - 978-84-612-7578-6/2340-1079
PY - 2009
Y1 - 9-11 March, 2009
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2009 Proceedings
SP - 1768
EP - 1772
ER -
M. Arevalillo-Herráez, X. Benavent, R. Ferris (2009) A COMPETITIVE LEARNING STRATEGY IN TEACHING PROGRAMMING TO STUDENTS OF MATHEMATICS, INTED2009 Proceedings, pp. 1768-1772.
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