ISSN: 0799-1487

Learner Autonomy as a Means to Improve Pass Rates Among First-Year Computing Students

Daniel T. Fokum, Daniel N. Coore and Curtis Busby-Earle

The worldwide pass rate for a first year tertiary-level Computing course (CS1) has been found to be about 67 per cent. At The University of the West Indies, Mona, the Semester I pass rate for the very first tertiary level computing course has ranged between 37.6 per cent and 66.7 per cent between the 2011/2012 and 2013/2014 academic years. Previous work from Ireland has shown that self-regulated learning, a concept related to learning autonomy, is important in learning how to program. In a bid to improve pass rates, one of the authors has used an online programming lab to facilitate students practising programming on their own. This paper documents the results of that experiment, as well as other techniques that have been used worldwide to improve performance in CS1.
Keywords: Learner autonomy; Computing students; Postsecondary education; Pass rates; MyProgrammingLab; Online programming lab; Teaching; Learning; The University of the West Indies (Mona)
Section: Articles