Bowdoin College

Round Table
Problem-based learning with tablets in CS101

 

Abstract

Round Table Project Executive Summary

For the Round Table Project, Professors Adriana Palacio and Stephen Majercik re-designed the introductory-level computer science course to become an interactive, problem-based learning class.  By making use of HP Tablet PCs and Dyknow software, the instructors increased the engagement of students with a wide range of knowledge and skills.  The primary goal of Round Table was to facilitate a positive learning experience for students, who have varying degrees of exposure to computer science, in order to encourage prolonged study and interest in computer science.

Background

Computer science educators face numerous major challenges that have become national trends. These challenges include declining enrollments, the under-representation of women and minorities, and knowledge of what exactly computer science is.  Furthermore, the knowledge and skill levels of students based on their prior exposure to computer science vary widely. Therefore, it is challenging for the instructor to keep the advanced students interested without demoralizing others.  Furthermore, it is important to obtain early feedback on a student’s understanding at the introductory level because of the cumulative nature of computer science. The Round Table project used Tablet PCs to create a more interactive course tol engage all students and enabled the instructors to obtain immediate feedback from their students.

The Round Table project was funded by the 2007 Higher Education HP Technology for Teaching Grant Initiative.

 

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