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A Second Language Acquisition Toolkit for Teaching Introduction to Computing

Abstract

Introduction to Computing and higher-level programming courses are common first-year engineering curricula at the university level and are key in developing logical thought processes in engineering students. Recent research has shown that employing second language acquisition (SLA) techniques to teach programming increases exam performance and student motivation compared to more classical approaches. However, the presentation of pedagogical techniques has been largely limited to higher-level languages with more intuitive linguistic analogs and has not been extended to lower-level computing course material. In this paper we present several SLA techniques and their analogs in a computing course setting and the results of implementing an SLA strategy in a first-year engineering course. Statistical analysis shows that students taught with SLA methods completed quizzes more quickly, enjoyed recitation more, and had a higher perceived value of the class when compared with students taught with non-SLA techniques.Cockrell School of Engineerin

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