Analysing the Impact of a New Summer Programming Course for First Year Students in the School of Informatics

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Undergraduate students coming into first year (UG1) in the School of Informatics (SoI) have very diverse experience in computer programming, ranging from having studied it to a high level to never having written one line of code. This considerable skill difference can lead to inequality: while the first category may find UG1 programming courses easy and gain high marks, the second may struggle a few weeks into them, fail them, even drop out completely.

Among the strategies introduced to address such inequality, SoI is now organising an optional, free and unassessed online pre-UG1 summer introductory programming course. It aims to develop students’ programming skills before they start university, but also help them transition to university and build a community. The course ran for the first time in July-August 2021. It was organised by a diverse team of lecturers and students leading SoI student support groups and societies, including the Hoppers society for diversity in SoI. It consisted of a mix of self-study topics, labs involving tasks and solutions led by student demonstrators, and office hours which were either social or involved invited lecturers and students talking about university life. Programming concepts were introduced gradually using the very intuitive Python programming language.

Research is conducted to analyse the impact of this course, both on the short and long term, and also comparing students who attended it and who did not. To this end, surveys on self-efficacy and sense of belonging were sent out to all participants at the start and end of the course. The same surveys were also used with all UG1 students at the start and end of semester 1, and will be used again at the end of semester 2. With their consent, the students’ marks in both semesters will also be reviewed.

This presentation will summarise the results of this ongoing research and constitute a reflection on improvements that can be made to next year’s summer programming course.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022
EventUniversity of Edinburgh Learning & Teaching Conference 2022 - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Jun 202216 Jun 2022


ConferenceUniversity of Edinburgh Learning & Teaching Conference 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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