(CS EdX Sessions) Howarth, Jason

Title: Using Zoom to facilitate Practical Programming Exercises Online

Presenter: Dr Jason Howarth (Course Director)


Faculty / Division: BJBS

School / Unit: Computing, Mathematics & Engineering

Session Type: Podcast Q&A

Podcast URL: Anchor link

When: Thursday, 18 November 2021 @ 11:15am – 12:15pm)

Where: https://charlessturt.zoom.us/j/62823982990


I will be talking about how I used Zoom during the Covid-19 pandemic to facilitate practical programming exercises online. I wanted this approach to be more than simply the setting of exercises that have a binary right/wrong solution. My intention was rather to have the students engage in a continuous improvement cycle. I gave students a programming problem to solve and a limited amount of time to do so. The Zoom session was paused while they programmed their solutions. When the allotted time was up, we reconvened and students were encouraged to do a voluntary ‘show and tell’. I then critiqued their work on screen, suggesting what I liked, what might be done differently, and often praising solutions that I had not thought of. This was done in a very supportive environment that focused on improvement rather than judgment.

To ensure that I ‘put myself out there’ as much as my students, I also showed my solution and invited students to critique it using the same format. The benefits of this approach included increased peer to peer interaction, a focus on continuous improvement, and a focus on alternative solutions rather than ‘right and wrong’ answers. This approach also replicated the pair programming / team programming environments that many organisations adopt with regards to software development.