An Exploratory Analysis of Textbook Usage in College Computer Programming Courses
Abstract: The textbook is one of the most important sources of knowledge. It remains the definitive source of content for the knowledge and skills that students should acquire within a prescribed curriculum. However, research has been shown that there is a decline in the rate of reading of texts among college students. There are also conflicting research results on whether textbook reading in university-level courses is correlated with improvements in student grades. The conflicting results raise many questions about role of the textbook in tertiary education. In an effort to answer these questions, we conducted a preliminary survey on textbook usage in several undergraduate introductory programming courses. The purpose of this study is to examine the factors that impact the use of textbooks and investigate students’ preferred resources to use and prepare themselves to meet course requirements. The results show that a majority of students used online resources instead of assigned reading materials. When textbook reading is not directly tied to assessments, students often choose to study other resources they deem to be more beneficial. The results of this study and the conflicting results from previous research on the use and efficacy of textbooks appear to suggest that the textbook as a learning instrument needs to change to support how students learn.
Presider: Thomas Francl, National University