Redesigning Online Computer Science for Student-Centered Problem-Based Learning

Redesigning Online Computer Science for Student-Centered Problem-Based Learning

Margaret L. Niess (Oregon State University, USA) and Terry L. Rooker (Oregon State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJQCSSE.2019010102
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After launching an online Computer Science post-baccalaureate degree program, this study was undertaken to inform the redesign of an introductory Computer Science course using a student-centered, problem-based learning approach. The research team proposed a weekly/unit learning trajectory as they were engaged in student-centered, problem-based learning. Over a timeframe of three university terms, the research team used a design-based, iterative examination to refine the implementation of various instructional actions in the learning trajectory. Multiple small groups of students discussed their learning experiences each term, providing directions for improvements. The analysis directed successive iterations, refining the content, problem solving, and collaborations in the class. This research method assured authentic student voice in an iterative redesign of the course.
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The Online Redesign Challenge

With this assessment of the quality of the program, the program designers sought to engage in a redesign of the online program to incorporate more active learning, where students worked in groups, shared ideas and engaged in critical reflection such that they valued shared and individual knowledge development. After extensive analysis of many undergraduate degree computer science programs and best practices in online education, the research team proposed a redesign of the program to incorporate a student-centered, problem-based learning (PBL) approach in this online post-baccalaureate degree program (Jonassen, 2000). To direct the redesign effort, the research team identified the need for the addition of a social presence with the cognitive and teaching presences for the courses (Garrison, Archer & Anderson, 1999; Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005) in order to activate the student-centered aspect.

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