Examining the difficulties of computational concepts and practices undergraduates encounter in an online learning environment

ID: 54655 Type: Brief Paper
  1. Hyunchang Moon and Jongpil Cheon, Texas Tech University, United States
  2. SunGwan Han, Gyeong-in National University of Education, Korea (South)

Wednesday, March 20 11:30-11:50 AM Location: Sunset 4 View on map

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Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine what computational thinking (CT) concepts and practices undergraduate students struggle with and discuss how instructional interventions need to be shaped in order to assist them in improving computational thinking skills in an online environment. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected from Computational Thinking test (CTt), (b) Scratch programming artifacts, and (c) Coding journals from an undergraduate online course. The CTt results revealed that the understanding level of the two computational concepts were significantly lower than the other concepts: while conditional and if conditional. A content analysis of the coding journal found that the most difficult computational concepts to apply were if/else conditional, data, and operator. Equally important, testing and debugging was perceived as the most challenging practice throughout their programming projects. These results implied that CT-related learning activities should offer effective instructional supports to enhance the understandings of conditionals, variables, and operators of computational concepts, as well as testing and debugging strategies for effective computational practices.


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