Teaching Java™: Managing Instructional Tactics to Optimize Student Learning

Teaching Java™: Managing Instructional Tactics to Optimize Student Learning

Henry H. Emurian (University of Maryland-Baltimore, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-150-6.ch014
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Information systems students in a graduate section and an undergraduate section of an introductory Java graphical user interface course completed the following initial assignments to learn a simple program: (1) automated programmed instruction tutoring, (2) hands-on learning with a lecture, and (3) collaborative peer tutoring. Tests of knowledge transfer and software self-efficacy were administered before students began the first assignment and following completion of each one. The results showed progressive improvement in rule test performance and software self-efficacy across the several instructional events. Taken together, the results of these classroom observations extend the generality of previous work to an updated set of instructional materials and assignments, and that outcome shows the reliability of the learning processes with new groups of students. Students who are new to Java had the privilege of exposure to an initial repertoire of teaching tactics that are synergistic and cumulative.
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The research reported here is part of an ongoing stream of formative evaluations of instructional tactics that are intended to help novice, college-level students acquire skill and confidence in computer programming by means of an integrative approach to curriculum development (Emurian, in press: a). Direct mastery of the core knowledge in a discipline is recognized as a fundamental requirement to apply and extend that knowledge to solve novel problems, and that implies consideration of an instructional design to overcome the empirically verified shortcomings of teaching tactics that provide minimal guidance during a student’s learning experiences (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006). The integrative tactics adopted in our classrooms are in furtherance of helping all of our students to succeed.

Our previous work consistently confirmed the value of programmed instruction in teaching introductory information systems students a simple Java applet as a first technical training exercise in preparation for advanced learning (Emurian, 2004, 2005, 2006a,b). A Web-based, programmed instruction tutoring system to accomplish that objective was presented in Emurian, Hu, Wang et al., (2000), and behavior principles supporting the design and implementation of the system were described by Emurian, Wang, and Durham (2003) and Emurian and Durham (2003). Similar value of programmed instruction is evident in its applications within other symbol intensive disciplines, such as chemistry (Kurbanoglu, Taskesenligil, & Sozbilir, 2006), and its training effectiveness in fostering parent-teacher communications has been demonstrated (Ingvarsson & Hanley, 2006). The objectives of our work are to apply programmed instruction and to assess its effectiveness as a tactic to promote a common level of mastery by all students for a designated learning objective in Java programming. An optimal outcome of such a direct mastery approach is taken to reflect a true gain in learning (Anderson, Corbett, Koedinger et al., 1995).

Among several recommendations for effective learning principles to foster retention and transfer of knowledge is repeated practice with different instructional modalities (Halpern & Hakel, 2003) and with socially supported interactions (Fox & Hackerman, 2003). The modalities that have been adopted in our most recent classroom applications include: (1) programmed instruction, (2) lectures with hands-on learning, and (3) collaborative peer tutoring (Emurian, 2006b; in press:b). These tactics are demonstrably effective in promoting programming skill, software self-efficacy, and generalizable knowledge, the latter reflecting far transfer of learning (Barnett & Ceci, 2002). The benefits on student learning of a somewhat different, “blended” instructional approach to teaching introductory Java have been reported by Boyle, Bradley, Chalk et al. (2003), where repetition of similar topics occurred throughout the course syllabus. Our assessments of student learning, however, sometimes showed room for improvement in the goal of achieving maximal performance by all students on a far transfer test that was administered immediately following collaborative peer tutoring (Emurian, 2006b; in press:b).

To potentiate the effectiveness of the collaborative peer tutoring, the present classroom studies undertook a modification to the instructions and materials that made available to students to prepare them for collaborative peer tutoring and to use during the collaboration session. The modified procedure allowed the collaborating students to view and discuss together the questions that constituted the test of far transfer. Collaborating students also had direct hypertext access to instructional frames that were otherwise presented sequentially and contingently within the Java programmed instruction tutoring system. Finally, the Java program to be learned by students, as the first technical exercise in a course, contained more items of code to be mastered in comparison to the previous work in this area of classroom applications and research.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Mara H. Washburn
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Media and Women in Technology
Chapter 2
David Gefen, Nitza Geri, Narasimha Paravastu
Threaded discussions are one of the central tools of online education. These tools enhance student learning and compensate for the lack of social... Sample PDF
The Gender Communication Gap in Online Threaded Discussions
Chapter 3
Princely Ifinedo
In this study, we investigate the influence of two external influences i.e., Ease of finding and Computer anxiety on the technology acceptance model... Sample PDF
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Continuance Intention
Chapter 4
Thanakorn Wangpipatwong
In this article, the study of how a constructivist e-learning system affects students’ learning outcomes was explored and a two-phase study was... Sample PDF
The Influence of Constructivist E-Learning System on Student Learning Outcomes
Chapter 5
Andreas Wiesner-Steiner, Heike Wiesner, Heidi Schelhowe, Petra Luck
This article presents substantial results from two projects that deal with teaching and learning with digital media in basic and higher education... Sample PDF
The Didactical Agency of Information Communication Technologies for Enhanced Education and Learning
Chapter 6
Daniel J. Shelley
E-learning and e-pedagogy continues to grow in importance in the delivery of higher education, due in part to the cost of higher education, a... Sample PDF
Comparative Analyses of Online and Traditional Undergraduate Business Law Classes: How Effective is E-Pedagogy?
Chapter 7
Ido Millet
Data Flow Diagrams and Use Cases are two popular methodologies in teaching as well as in practice. For the last 4 years, we have been using both... Sample PDF
Student Perceptions of Data Flow Diagrams vs. Use Cases
Chapter 8
Hong Lin
Agent-oriented design has become one of the most active areas in the field of software engineering. The agent concept provides a focal point for... Sample PDF
Promoting Undergraduate Education with Agent Based Laboratory
Chapter 9
Tony Jewels, Rozz Albon
For optimum workplace effectiveness in knowledge-intensive industries in which principles of knowledge management need to be applied, it is... Sample PDF
Supporting Arguments for Including the Teaching of Team Competency Principles in Higher Education
Chapter 10
Lawrence Tomei
This article helps classroom teachers create an “Interactive Lesson,” a self-paced, student-controlled, individualized learning opportunity embedded... Sample PDF
Creating an Interactive PowerPoint Lesson for the Lesson
Chapter 11
Chris Thompson, Zane L. Berge
This chapter briefly profiles three virtual schools, each at a different stage of development, yet each dependent upon a successful and sustained... Sample PDF
Planning Staff Training for Virtual High Schools
Chapter 12
MarySue Cicciarelli
Research shows that training prospective online instructors in an online learning environment is advantageous. One effective training topic is on... Sample PDF
Training Prospective Online Instructors: Theories Utilized by Current Online Instructors
Chapter 13
Michael Fedisson, Silvia Braidic
Seventh grade students were tested on their knowledge of sentences and nouns in a language arts classroom. This study was conducted over a two-year... Sample PDF
The Impact of PowerPoint Presentations on Student Achievement and Student Attitudes
Chapter 14
Henry H. Emurian
Information systems students in a graduate section and an undergraduate section of an introductory Java graphical user interface course completed... Sample PDF
Teaching Java™: Managing Instructional Tactics to Optimize Student Learning
Chapter 15
John DiMarco
This research project investigated the existence of web portfolios on academic websites in New York State. It cites disappointing results when... Sample PDF
Toward an Increase in Student Web Portfolios in New York Colleges and Universities
Chapter 16
Marianne Döös, Eva R Fåhræus, Karin Alvemark, Lena Wihelmson
Conducting a dialogue on the Web is a matter of linking thoughts in digital conversations. Dialogue differs from discussion by not being aimed at... Sample PDF
Competent Web Dialogues: Text-Based Linking of Thoughts
Chapter 17
Jeffrey Hsu
A number of new communications technologies have emerged in recent years which were originally used primarily for personal and recreational... Sample PDF
Employing Interactive Technologies for Education and Learning: Learning-Oriented
Chapter 18
Matthew Shaul
As a socially constructive learning tool, discussion forums remain central to online education. They have continued to evolve in functionality... Sample PDF
Assessing Online Discussion Forum Participation
Chapter 19
Solomon Negash, Michelle Emerson, John Vandegrieft
An empirical analysis was conducted to compare synchronous hybrid e-Learning environment with traditional classrooms. Empirical study with 165... Sample PDF
Synchronous Hybrid E-Learning: Empirical Comparison with Asynchronous and Traditional Classrooms
Chapter 20
Diane Hui, Donna L. Russell
Effectiveness of professional development is affected by the quality of social interaction. This study examines how online collaborative dialogues... Sample PDF
Understanding the Effectiveness of Collaborative Activity in Online Professional Development with Innovative Educators through Intersubjectivity
Chapter 21
Silvia Braidic
Teaching is a complex activity that involves careful preparation, delivery and reflection. As an educator, it is essential to create a sense of... Sample PDF
Effective Questioning to Facilitate Dynamic Online Learning
Chapter 22
Cindy S. York
This article briefly reviews two important goals in online education: interaction and presence. These are important goals in online education... Sample PDF
Transitioning from Face-to-Face to Online Instruction: How to Increase Presence and Cognitive/Social Interaction in an Online Information Security Risk Assessment Class
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