Student Voice in the Assignment Design Process
Abstract: Well-defined assignments are designed to help students better understand a problem. Unfortunately, some students struggle to understand the textual description of a programming assignment. This study attempts to minimise students’ struggles by bringing in the student voice in the assignment design process. The student voice involves students in the instructional design process by collecting their perspectives and insights into the learning experience and integrating into the instructional materials. This study gives introductory programming (CS1) students the ability to share their perspectives into how the assignment presentation helps them understand the material by participating in narrative interviews. This paper demonstrates how to bring in the student voice into the assignment design process through narrative interviews, enabling students to share their perspectives on assignments constructed from design treatments that support better understanding of textual problem descriptions. The study shows that listing subgoals is a helpful design treatment for students when attempting to understand the assignment description, while paragraph formatting can make it difficult for them to identify the subgoals. This paper concludes with a discussion of future research opportunities that build on the study’s findings and suggests using narrative interviews to bring the student voice into higher-level Computer Science (CS) courses.