From Zero to Hero – Automated Formative Assessment for Supporting Student Engagement and Performance in a Gamified Online Programming Course
Abstract: In this research, we analyze data from five editions of the Introduction to programming course held between academic years 2014/2015 and 2018/2019 at the Faculty of Applied Informatics and Mathematics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences. There have been 969 students that took the final exam during analyzed period. There are two sources of data: 1) university’s moodle learning system, which is the main repository of course resources, and 2) the RunCode online learning environment – an additional platform that supports automated verification of the programming code that has been used in academic years 2017/2018 and 2018/2019. We describe the gamified course developed for the purpose of supporting development of programming skills and made available on the RunCode online learning environment. Our main findings refer to students declaring no previous experience with programming. Firstly, we observed increased activity on the moodle platform after introducing the RunCode system. Increased activity has not been observed in the group of students that declared previous programming experience. Secondly, we observed an increase in the performance of students declaring no previous programming experience in the period where the RunCode platform has been introduced – the proportion of students that declare no previous programming experience that passed the exam significantly increased.