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Journal Issue
Volume 5 Issue 1, ECEL 2006 / Feb 2007  pp1‑86

Editor: Shirley Williams

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Managed Learning Environments and an Attendance Crisis?  pp1‑10

Ruth Barrett, Austen Rainer, Olenka Marczyk

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Benefits of e‑Learning Benchmarks: Australian Case Studies  pp11‑20

Sarojni Choy

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Determining Areas of Weakness in Introductory Programming as a Foundation for Reusable Learning Objects  pp21‑30

Eileen Costelloe, Elizabeth Sherry, Patricia Magee

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Abstract

Teaching programming to novices has proved challenging for both learner and lecturer due to the abstraction and complexity of the subject matter. The work described in this paper is part of an EU funded Minerva project called TUPULO (Teaching Undergraduate Programming Using Learning Objects) which aims to address the challenges faced by novice programmers by providing them with an innovative learning tool. This learning tool that is currently under development and rollout incorporates a set of Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) based on sound pedagogical principles and encapsulated in a Constructivist Learning Environment (CLE), which includes a meta‑cognitive interface. The subject matter experts and instructional designers in the local academic partner institutions designed these learning objects. The outputs and findings of the TUPULO project will not only benefit learners in the partner institutions involved, but by being disseminated to the wider educational community, they will also help learners in the domain on a broader scale. This paper describes the preparatory work undertaken in order to establish a set of potential LOs for development based on the student's main areas of weakness. When attempting to build learning objects for use in any domain the primary consideration should always be the needs and abilities of the learners. This paper describes the work done by the authors in conducting a user needs analysis in order to establish the key problem areas facing learners of introductory programming. A methodology for user needs capture and analysis was produced based on the set of user groups available at the Institutions and the needs of the users were captured and analysed. The methodology was devised to incorporate both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the information available to us regarding students. Exam scripts and corresponding results together with focus group discussions were used in order to ascertain perceptions regarding the course content, delivery, level of difficulty and areas of difficulty in programming. Additional institutional information such as students' leaving certificate points and Maths grade together with students' overall performance in other subject areas were used to investigate possible correlations. The analysis of this data provided some preliminary information on the ways in which students interpret various questions and their conceptual difficulties in understanding certain topics. This analysis leads to the final selection of programming topics for potential development as reusable learning objects. 

 

Keywords: novice programmers, learning objects, programming pedagogy, meta-cognitive support

 

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Students' Perceived Usefulness of Formative Feedback for a Computer‑adaptive Test  pp31‑38

Mariana Lilley, Trevor Barker

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A Web Based Intelligent Training System for SMEs  pp39‑48

Roisin Mullins, Yanqing Duan

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Piloting a Process Maturity Model as an e‑Learning Benchmarking Method  pp49‑58

Jim Petch, Gayle Calverley, Hilary Dexter, Tim Cappelli

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Interactive Nonlinear Learning Environments  pp59‑68

Ronald Robberecht

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Designing Online Instruction for Success: Future Oriented Motivation and Self‑Regulation  pp69‑78

Joel T. Schmidt, Christian H. Werner

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Watch out — the Power Users are Coming  pp79‑86

Karin Tweddell Levinsen

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