Acquiring skill in computer programming is acknowledged to be valuable for information science students (Forgionne, 1991). Educators in the discipline, however, recognize that students may sometimes select management information systems (MIS) and related academic majors to avoid the programming demands of a computer science curriculum (Gill & Holton, 2006). Although object-oriented software methodologies are included in undergraduate curriculum recommendations for information systems programs (e.g., IS 2002, presented in Gorgone et al., 2002) and information technology programs (e.g., IT 2005, presented in SIGITE, 2005), the complexity and instability of object-oriented languages such as Java1 pose additional burdens on both students and educators alike (Roberts, 2004). Moreover, the diversity challenges of a typical freshman class in computer programming are highlighted by Koen (2005): “Freshman are very diverse with respect to their entering computer skills—some are state computer champions, while others have never touched a computer before” (p. 599). Realizing these challenges and given a course in Java that is intended to be taken by information systems majors, what instructional approach should the teacher adopt to maximize student learning?
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interteaching: A dyadic interaction in which two learners come prepared to assess each other’s understanding of a unit of knowledge and to teach each other, as needed, to a mutually informed level of competency.
Personalized System of Instruction: A comprehensive learning environment that permits the individual student to move through a progression of steps to competency at his or her own pace. The written word, rather than a lecture, is emphasized as the medium to transmit information to students. A student proctor “expert” verifies, within the context of an interpersonal interaction, a learning student’s satisfactory completion of a step or recommends that studying continue until mastery of a step is demonstrated.
Learn Unit: A contingency of reinforcement that includes an occasion for learning, a requirement for a learner to respond, and a consequence that confirms response accuracy or that provides remedial action until accuracy occurs.
Programmed Instruction: A method for organizing knowledge for learning in incremental steps or frames of information where progress across successive steps requires demonstrated mastery at the level of the single step or frame.
Behavior Analysis: A science and technology of behavior that seeks to understand the causes of behavior in terms of specifiable and directly measurable antecedents that account for and that determine performance at the level of the individual organism.