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Measuring the impact of App Inventor for Android and studio-based learning in an introductory computer science course for non-majors

, Ball State University, United States

Ball State University . Awarded


A reexamination of the traditional instruction of introductory computer science (CS) courses is becoming a necessity. Introductory CS courses tend to have high attrition rates and low success rates. In many universities, the CS department suffered from low enrollment for several years compared to other majors. Multiple studies have linked these phenomena with low student motivation, specifically with respect to attitudes towards overtly mathematics-oriented assignments and lecture-oriented pedagogy. Students' criticisms were directed at the major for its lack of creativity, relevance, and interest. This study implemented an experimental introductory CS course for non-CS majors focusing on two pedagogic factors: (1) the use of a visual blocks programming language known as App Inventor for Android (AIA) and (2) the adoption of SBL as the main teaching methodology. Participants included 30 undergraduates enrolled in two introductory CS courses; the experimental course (CS116) and a traditional lecture oriented CS course. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was implemented in both courses at several stages. Statistically significant differences were found in the Control of Learning Beliefs, Help Seeking, and Intrinsic Motivation scales, were CS116's participants scored higher rates. In CS116, entry and exit interviews were conducted as well as a mind maps analysis. Their results showed a positive response to the pedagogic factors, positive attitudes towards CS, and an improvement in the understanding of CS. The majority of participants did very well and showed creativity with not one student failing the course. They found the experimental course to cultivate collaboration, creativity, and motivation to learn. The experimental approach was found have a positive effect on students' motivation, achievement, and attitude towards CS.


Ahmad, K.N. Measuring the impact of App Inventor for Android and studio-based learning in an introductory computer science course for non-majors. Ph.D. thesis, Ball State University. Retrieved February 17, 2019 from .

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