About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1241-1246
Publication year: 2019
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0384

Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain


B. Remeseiro1, A.J. Díaz-Honrubia2, G. Cebrián-Márquez1, N. Rico1, J.R. Villar1

1Universidad de Oviedo, Department of Computer Science (SPAIN)
2Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Department of Computer Languages and Systems and Software Engineering (SPAIN)
Computer Basics is a first-year subject common to all the engineering degrees in the University of Oviedo, being one of its main targets the introduction of the students to computer programming. In this context, a team of professors launched an innovative experience in which a programming Gymkhana was used to reinforce the Python learning within the subject. The Gymkhana was proposed as a voluntary activity aiming at improving the programming abilities of the participants and promoting their self-learning. It consisted of a set of small programming problems to be solved in different rounds, so that the students progressed as they went through the problems. In order to encourage the students to participate in the activity, it was accompanied by an additional score to the final grade that depended on the number of problems solved, and on the position reached in the final ranking of students. This last consideration guaranteed the competitiveness among students, and avoided that some of them solved the Gymkhana of their peers.

The Gymkhana was carried out in three different groups:
1) students of the Degree in Software Computer Engineering (SCE),
2) students of the Degree in Chemical Engineering (CE), and
3) students of both the Degree in Electric Engineering and the Degree in Industrial Technologies Engineering (EE&ITE).

Given the peculiarities of these three groups, the impact of the experience was evaluated individually. The evaluation was focused on three aspects: the final grades of the participants against those who did not participate in the Gymkhana, the percentage of participation, and the opinion of the students.

The material developed by the teaching staff, which includes the Gymkhana system implemented in a server accessible from the Internet and a set of programming exercises, proved to be useful as reflected in the final grades of the participating students compared to the rest. Regarding the level of participation, it was very high in the most related degree (SCE), whilst in non-related degrees it was slightly lower (EE&ITE) or notably lower (CE). This fact may be directly related to the lack of interest and/or motivation of the students of this subject in non-related degrees, detected at a general level among the teaching staff; and it suggests that we must continue promoting this type of ideas that may arouse interest among these students. Finally, it should be highlighted that the students who participated in the Gymkhana have a very positive opinion about the activity and, in general, they consider that it has been useful in both the acquisition and the improvement of programming skills in Python. In fact, the larger the number of exercises solved, the better the opinion of the participants.

Next steps to launch the experience in other degrees and universities in coming years include some improvements in the system operation and the redefinition of some exercises, following the suggestions made by some participants.
author = {Remeseiro, B. and D{\'{i}}az-Honrubia, A.J. and Cebri{\'{a}}n-M{\'{a}}rquez, G. and Rico, N. and Villar, J.R.},
series = {11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN19 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-12031-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2019.0384},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2019.0384},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2019},
year = {2019},
pages = {1241-1246}}
AU - B. Remeseiro AU - A.J. Díaz-Honrubia AU - G. Cebrián-Márquez AU - N. Rico AU - J.R. Villar
SN - 978-84-09-12031-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2019.0384
PY - 2019
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2019
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN19 Proceedings
SP - 1241
EP - 1246
ER -
B. Remeseiro, A.J. Díaz-Honrubia, G. Cebrián-Márquez, N. Rico, J.R. Villar (2019) REINFORCEMENT OF PYTHON LEARNING THROUGH A PROGRAMMING GYMKHANA, EDULEARN19 Proceedings, pp. 1241-1246.