Developing game-like instructional modules to enhance student learning in lower level core computer science courses (abstract only)

Abstract

Statistics have shown that fewer African Americans are pursuing Computer Science (CS) degrees relative to their proportion of the overall population and among those who do major in CS very few are employed as programmers. Struggling with the lower level core CS courses is the main barrier preventing students from declaring CS major and retaining students in the program. In this poster, we present our project of developing game-like instructional modules to enhance student learning in those gatekeeper courses namely Computer Programming I, Computer Programming II and Data Structures. The project involves implementing three components: Education, Assessment and Dissemination. The education component includes developing game-like instructional modules for those three courses, which will allow students to learn the difficult concepts in a gaming context. The assessment component includes establishing an advisory board for the project and implementing the evaluation plan. The advisory board, which consists of experienced CS faculty, education faculty and professionals from the game industry, assists in project development and the evaluation process. The dissemination component includes disseminating results through national conferences, outreach programs, computer science HBCU consortiums, publications and an HBCU faculty workshop. Several modules have been developed and evaluated in the computer programming classes at Winston-Salem State University. Initial assessment results show that game-like instructional modules had a positive impact on student learning.

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