Practical applications

I am teaching an introductory course in C programming. I’m excited to see how the lessons we learn in ONL162 can help improve the student experience in this course.

There are approximately 30 students in the course. In the past, it was structured in a traditional manner, first a lecture on the topic in the classroom, exercises given for homework, and programming sessions where the students work on laboratories. The students attending the course have a wide range of prior knowledge. Because the course is introductory, we spend a lot of time on basic subjects like typing and syntax. These topics can bore the more advanced students. On the other hand, the students who are new to programming really benefit from going slow over these sections.

This is one area where I feel that online learning can really help. When students are stuck watching lectures in the classroom, they have no control over the pace of the learning. The lectures are too fast for some, and too slow for others. If we can move the lectures to an online format, students can learn at home at their own pace.

This will also free up in-class time for students to have hands-on experience programming. In the classroom they will be less likely to get stuck an frustrated, because they can always raise their hand and ask for assistance from the instructor. Also, moving the daily programming work to the classroom encourages the students to program more.



One thought on “Practical applications”

  1. I certainly like the idea of incorporating video lectures to free course time, allow students to watch at their own convenient time and pace. While I have this far found the online PBL sessions problematic (loads of technical problems and little structure), the real-time recorded webinars are a little better, and the recorded, prepared webinars (Alistar’s on Topic 2) or video lectures (David White) are in fact much more rewarding and illustrative than normal lectures. One could argue that the possibility to ask questions during the lectures is removed when it is recorded; but honestly: how often are students asking questions during lectures? I believe that we will see more and more video lectures (either locally produced or re-using other resources), in combination with question sessions or flipped-classroom exercises, and I think that it is a good trend.


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