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Questions tagged [student-motivation]

Questions about motivating students to study, participate, or take interest in the field of Computer Science. This tag can be used to ask questions regarding motivating students in the context of Computer Science (e.g. motivating them to self-teach or to work with others etc. as well as motivating them to study Computer Science)

103
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21answers
25k views

Is there some meaningful percentage of students who can't learn to program?

A few days ago, I had a high school sophomore (who is now in her third CS class, having passed the prior two) look at this Java code for a solid 3-5 minutes, and was unable to figure out what it did: ...
59
votes
10answers
24k views

How to answer “functional programming is useless”?

I'm a TA for several Bachelor level functional programming courses at my university. In every edition we have problems with some students that have the idea that functional programming is useless, ...
55
votes
23answers
10k views

How to convey how much computing power has grown since the 1960s?

I was born in 1968 and used dial-up to mainframes back before PCs were available. We got an Apple ][+ when they came out and thought 48K was a lot of memory. I live in constant wonder at the world ...
51
votes
27answers
17k views

How to teach a person to enjoy programming?

I've been teaching programming to my 13-year old son for over a year now. I'm not satisfied with his progress. I think that one of the reasons is his attitude: He wants to learn programming (he said ...
49
votes
9answers
7k views

What are healthy, productive ways to encourage students to progress to more advanced constructs as opposed to staying with the familiar?

In my experience, there are always students who are resistant to moving to more advanced constructs. They want to stay with what they already know. For example, when they are taught arrays, they ...
28
votes
14answers
7k views

How do you encourage students to take criticism of their code constructively?

How do you encourage students to benefit from code reviews you give them, rather than being discouraged or responding defensively?
25
votes
13answers
2k views

How to respond when students ask “is recursion good practice”?

Context: CS1-style, intro programming class, using an interpreted language (Python). I will get a hand raised asking "Why are we learning recursion? Is it good programming practice?" My response is ...
21
votes
12answers
4k views

Problematic student at a very high level

I teach a high school student who has already developed an understanding of the language used in my curriculum and causes difficulties. The lectures and programming projects in the curriculum bore ...
21
votes
9answers
3k views

How to tell a student that s/he should enroll in a different program?

Through the years I had several students that clearly were not fitted for computer science. Some of them ended up by dropping the program after a few years, some of them are still there struggling ...
19
votes
9answers
7k views

Dealing with students who are overly motivated

Occasionally I have students who are 'overmotivated': they put way too much effort in to trying to memorize every word of the textbook, every idea, each diagram I draw... They spend all of their off ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Do you see the “Bimodal Distribution” too?

When people learn programming in a school setting, tests show a "two hump" tendency. Some students race ahead and grasp it relatively well and others struggle. Apparently this is more pronounced in ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

What can the instructor do to overcome the Authenticity Bias in students?

A recent Blog post by Eugene Wallingford raises the issue that students often perform according to their perception of their abilities rather than their actual abilities. If a student performs better ...
16
votes
8answers
850 views

How can I determine if a student would enjoy or has an aptitude for CS?

I'm a developer with a little CS teaching history, and I have a nephew who enjoys math (Algebra-Calculus) quite a bit in high school. Because of this, I feel like he should at least try computer ...
15
votes
13answers
6k views

Uses of high school Computer Science: where can it lead other than university CS?

We are trying to get more pupils doing computer science in years 10→11 (UK GCSE) (14→15 years old) and years 12→13 (UK A-level) (16→17years old). As there are a lot of university educators around ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I scaffold students toward building meaningful projects?

Teaching 8th graders using App Inventor through Project Lead the Way's ICS 1 curriculum. I am interested in moving the students towards a deeper understanding of the power of CS to improve people ...
13
votes
7answers
4k views

How do you make your CS lectures more interesting?

My biggest challenge each semester is keeping students engaged in class. It's obvious that most of them would rather be somewhere else. I don't know if it's the students, my lecture, or both. I wish I ...
12
votes
3answers
446 views

Why did interest in CS majors plummet in the United States after the mid-80s?

As shown by the following graph, the percentage of U.S. college students earning bachelor's degrees in CS peaked in 1986, with the percent of freshmen planning to major in CS peaking for the classes ...
10
votes
4answers
282 views

How to motivate game design/development students to do more than the minimum on homework

I'm a teaching assistant for the upper level under-graduate courses for Game Design and Development at my University, and the professor and I are having a hard time finding a way to motivate students ...
10
votes
4answers
273 views

Can sharing learning stats be beneficial to guide beginner students?

Context The main consensus in most compsci programs I have been at is that a sizable amount of students is inherently unable to learn how to code. An old entry on Jeff Atwood's blog summarizing the ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

Dealing with students who are underly-motivated

Occasionally I have students who are 'under-motivated': they put way too little effort in to trying to memorize any of the textbook, any idea, each diagram I draw. I used to think that perhaps some ...
9
votes
4answers
380 views

Making Technical Presentations Safe for Novices

One useful skill in CS is presentation of technical material to peers and/or superiors. Novices, however, often come to computing as introverts for whom public speaking is difficult and even ...
8
votes
6answers
265 views

Paper Books or eBooks?

The majority of my students are finally becoming internet equipped. (This is kind of a big deal here in India). Whenever I start a new session, students ask me to recommend a textbook for them. I use ...
8
votes
3answers
203 views

Gifted Student Presentations

In working with a gifted student, I would like to set up an opportunity for him to learn some material and present it to the class. How could such an activity be structured so that the presentation ...
8
votes
2answers
131 views

Methods for engaging students when teaching unpopular or unfashionable topics

The world is full of computing technologies that have been put to productive use but may be unpopular or unfashionable with students today due to their complexity, their lack of support, limited ...
8
votes
2answers
135 views

Teaching interaction design to potentially disinterested students

Background: I will be a teaching assistant in a course on "Interactive Systems" with the following learning goals for the students. Analyze and criticize user interfaces Identify and describe ...
7
votes
6answers
334 views

Courage to Attack Difficult Questions

In a recent blog post Eugene Wallingford says that when teaching: I frequently pose a problem for them to work on for a few minutes before we look at a solution, or several candidates, as a group. ...
7
votes
4answers
226 views

Answering “How is this useful to me?”

When I am teaching, sometimes, I am asked “How is this useful to me? I don't use a computer. I won't use a computer in my job.” How can I, quickly, answer this question? I only have a few pupils ...
7
votes
5answers
649 views

How can I maintain interest in front end?

When I teach front end web development, it always happens that I start the year with a bunch of students who are ready to redesign Facebook on day 1. With expectations like that, it's always a letdown ...
7
votes
4answers
242 views

How do you structure broad, open-ended, freely chosen projects so that students use class time wisely?

If we are to believe Daniel Pink, autonomy is one of the fundamental aspects of motivation, so integrating student choice is extremely valuable if I want my students to remain highly engaged. I ...
7
votes
2answers
176 views

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ending

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ending I have a task that I started with a group of 4th-6th graders at the beginning of a short course on Artificial Intelligence. In order to demonstrate how exact computers ...
7
votes
3answers
106 views

Working on practical projects as a team - good or bad?

We are trying to implement a course where students develop web apps using PHP+AgileUI (no HTML, JavaScript or CSS) with a strong emphasis on "object oriented" approach, designing business logic and ...
7
votes
2answers
278 views

In-class server access limits

I want to set up a fully functional web server in the classroom. I will be using a separate computer provisioned with Apache, MySQL, Tomcat, PHP, Perl, etc. I want to have each student in the class ...
6
votes
4answers
463 views

Motivation for learning C++ when you know Java

I am going to teach a C++ course to students who already know Java. From answers to my previous question, I learned that C++ is substantially harder to master than Java, particularly because of the ...
6
votes
3answers
188 views

Using microcontrollers in an Introductory course

Are there any advantages to using small microcontrollers (such as an Arduino, etc.) with tactile, physical I/O (such as buttons, LEDs, robotic actuators, etc.)? For instance, does it help create more ...
6
votes
3answers
271 views

What are the pedagogical methods for teaching programming?

This is a very objective question. I want to know what are the methods for teaching programing? I'll provide a parallel example to make this clearer in case this causes any confusion. I have ...
6
votes
4answers
302 views

Study Advice for a CS Student

It's my second year in my computer science degree, 2nd semester. I feel like I am still not good enough and not satisfied with myself! I still can't program and when I have a task I can't think. I ...
6
votes
4answers
281 views

Answering student questions as they work outside class

If your students are like mine, they do a lot of their work outside my view; at home, on weekends, etc. But as they work they sometimes get stuck. They get questions for which they need the answers in ...
6
votes
3answers
269 views

What are good models for an Honors Program for CS students?

One way to extend the reach of your best students is to have an Honors Program that, perhaps, runs over several years. One model is to have a special program to which students are invited. ...
5
votes
6answers
569 views

Finishing College with Employable Skills

Last week, 4 students from another college approached me with a scenario. They have a year of college left in them. That means, they will be occupied with all sorts of final year things that may and ...
5
votes
2answers
198 views

Is it possible to study too many things in parallel?

Unfortunately I did not study well at school, I was not interested in many things, and I did not understand that things. But I have matured, interests have become more. I am now 20 years old. Now I ...
5
votes
3answers
160 views

What should be the difference between a university course and developer training? [closed]

I teach university students and would like to start teaching prospective developers. As such, I have been thinking about the core differences between these two audiences. I find that students are ...
5
votes
3answers
119 views

Making induction meaningful

I've been teaching inductive proofs of code correctness to high school students for three years now, and the instruction has steadily improved. Many of the students come in not having done inductive ...
5
votes
3answers
348 views

Encourging Growth mindset, in computing lesson

I sometimes have pupils, that struggle to learn because they have a fixed-mindset (“I can't program”, “I can't use computers”, …). I the context of teaching a Computing (Computer Science, IT, ...
5
votes
3answers
142 views

Encourage students to learn and use advanced design

I mentor an FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) team, and they program in java. The team members who work programming the robot are using an extension1 library which they themselves write. The library ...
5
votes
4answers
151 views

Explaining the Value of Knowledge of Digital Logic

I am a college teacher developing an introduction to digital logic for grades 8-12. This is a special topic that will be presented in three 50-minute periods with in-class exercises. It won't go ...
5
votes
3answers
182 views

Pick-me-up exercises for after-lunch brain death

If you ever had a class right after lunch break, you know what this question is about. (Student's stomachs full, computers murmuring, room half-lit, teacher droning about something - I don't blame ...
5
votes
4answers
264 views

Giving Students a Break

My instruction time has specified breaks, but often the students do not take them, even if I urge them to. This results in them working and listening to my instruction while they are overdone. I tell ...
4
votes
8answers
268 views

Explaining why arrays are important for statisticians

I am a computer engineer, and I’m teaching computer sciences one hour per week to a student who failed her second-year university degree. She needed some help to have a better understanding of ...