Scholarly article on topic 'Students’ Perception and Motivation Towards Programming'

Students’ Perception and Motivation Towards Programming Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
OECD Field of science
Keywords
{Achievement / "motivation ;perception" / programming / "student interest"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Noor Faridatul Ainun Zainal, Shahrina Shahrani, Noor Faezah Mohd Yatim, Rohizah Abd Rahman, Masura Rahmat, et al.

Abstract This paper discusses the result of a study on students’ perceptions (pre-course and post-course) towards basic programming courses and the relationship between students’ perception, motivation and academic achievement. An online questionnaire was used to obtain feedback from 179 first year students from the Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM) of 2010/2011 session. The results showed that students reported more positive post-course perceptions than the pre-course perceptions andalthough the pre-course perceptions do not affect students achievement on overall, it affects their perceived programming skills. Students who have intrinsic motivation showed excellent performance and perceived high programming skill compare with other types of motivation.

Academic research paper on topic "Students’ Perception and Motivation Towards Programming"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

SciVerse ScienceDirect PfOCSCl ¡0

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 (2012) 277 - 286

UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011

Students' perception and motivation towards programming

Noor Faridatul Ainun Zainal*, Shahrina Shahrani, Noor Faezah Mohd Yatim, Rohizah Abd Rahman, Masura Rahmat &Rodziah Latih

Faculty of Information Sciences and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Abstract

This paper discusses the result of a study on students' perceptions (pre-course and post-course) towards basic programming courses and the relationship between students' perception, motivation and academic achievement. An online questionnaire was used to obtain feedback from 179 first year students from the Faculty of Information Science and Technology (FTSM) of 2010/2011 session. The results showed that students reported more positive post-course perceptions than the pre-course perceptions andalthough the pre-course perceptions do not affect students achievement on overall, it affects their perceived programming skills. Students who have intrinsic motivation showed excellent performance and perceived high programming skill compare with other types of motivation.

© 2011Published byElsevierLtd. Selection and/orpeer reviewedunderresponsibilityofthe UKMTeachingand LearningCongress 2011

Keywords: Achievement;motivation;perception; programming; student interest

1. Introduction

Programming is a compulsory course taken by all FTSM students in preparation for acquiring adequate skills in programming. There are three main programming courses that they need to undertake; TTTK1914 Programming C in the first semester, TTTK1924 Program Design and Problem Solving in the second semester, and TTTK2934 Object Oriented Programming in the third semester. Meanwhile, TTTK2043 Graphics Programming offered in the fourth semester and TTTK3223 Network Programming offered in the sixth semester, are compulsory only for students who are in the Computer Science program.

These two courses (TTTK1914 and TTTK1924) are important to for all new students because the programming language used in these two courses which is C++, is used globally. Although C++ programming language is a complex and difficult to learn (Abelson et al., 1995), (Allison and Chuck, 1995), (Berman et al., 1994), and (Engle and Charles, 1995), but it is one of the most popular languages in the IT industry. Therefore, it is taught as an introductory language widely (McIver and Convay, 1995).

Basic programming courses in FTSM are mainly delivered through lectures and lab exercises. The lectures cover the theoretical part of the subject, while the lab exercises are designed for the practical part. Lectures are delivered

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +6-03-8921-6756; fax: +6-03-8925-6732 E-mail address: farida@ftsm.ukm.my

ELSEVIER

1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011 doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.276

by lecturers in both English and Malay although the lecture notes are prepared in English. Lab sessions are on the other hand handled by IT teachers.

Programming course is considered as a difficult course for most Malaysian students (Syahanim et. al, 2009).Students are required to figure out the method to solve a problem and then translate this method into a programming language that they have never learned before.

This research was conducted to determine students' perceptions towards programming course and the relationship between students' motivation and academic achievement. Students' perceptions were measured twice, before attending the course (pre-course), and after attending the course (post-course). 93 % of first year students in the 2010/2011 session took part in this research, which means data from 179 respondents has been analyzed to determine whether the perception towards programming and motivation influence the students achievement and perceived programming skills.

2. State of the art

Programming courses is the least favored course by students even though it is an obligatory course in the faculty.This is because programming course is reported to be difficult to understand, master and score good results in the examination. Some researchers found that factors such as attitude (Dalgety et. al., 2003), motivation (Covington, 2000) and strong interest in the subject taught affect success in learning programming.

Apart from teaching effectiveness that gives impact to student achievement, students' perceptions are seen to have some relation with student achievement (Centra and Gaubatz , 2000),.

A study found that motivation influences the attitude of a student where the motivated student will change to a positive attitude while the less motivated students will be transformed into a negative attitude (Berg and Anders, 2005) . Positive attitudes are; study hard and not give up even fail. Students are more motivated and stay motivated, driven by intrinsic rewards such as constructive criticism than extrinsic, such as good grades (Richard dan Edward, 2000). This is because the intrinsic rewards give more satisfaction than the extrinsic rewards.

The motivation has divided into four types(Jenkins , 2001):

• Extrinsic - the primary motivation is career / awards that will influence success.

• Intrinsic - the primary motivation is strong interest in computing (especially programming) for his own satisfaction.

• Social - the primary motivation is to fulfill other parties needed.

• Achievement - The primary motivation is "doing best" for personal satisfaction.

3. Methodology

This research used an online questionnaire to obtain data from respondents. A total of 179 FTSM first year students in 2010/2011 session have responded to the questionnaire. The students were informed about the questionnaire via e-mail and facebook, and it was made available for 5 weeks to receive responses. There are six parts of questions in this questionnaire: a) Information about respondents b)perceptions towards the programming c) lectures and reference materials d) methods of teaching e) methods of revision and assignment and f) perceived programming skills.

This paper will discuss the results of only certain parts of the questionnaire which are related to perception, motivation, achievement, perceived programming skills, and variables affected by or related to these factors. Quantitative data obtained from this questionnaire has been analyzed using the descriptive statistics, comparative and relationship analysis.

4. Results

Analysis of the results obtained from research instruments have been analyzed in two levels. The first level is descriptive analysis to see the demographics of respondents and difference of mean as a whole based on the factors of choice upon entering university, experience in programming courses, perception, and motivation. The second

level is the analysis of the relationship between perception and motivational factors with some of the variables which include the effort and learning methods used by students while taking the course.

4.1 Descriptive analysis

4.1.1 Background of respondents

Each FTSM student is registered to one of six programs: Computer Science, Information Science, Industrial Computing, Science and Management System, Multimedia Studies and Intelligent System. There are 116 are male and 63 female students responded to this questionnaire as illustrated in Figure. 1. The percentages of students' race are shown in Figure. 2. Detail distributions of respondents by program are shown in Table 1.

BMale □ Female

Figure 1. Respondents gender percentage

H Malay 0 Chinese

■ Indian BOther Bumiputra

BNon Nationality

Figure 2. Respondents race percentage

Table 1. Details distributions of respondents by program

Program N Mean (%)

Intelligent System 15 8

Multimedia Studies 44 24

Computer Science 45 25

Information Science 23 13

Industrial Computing 31 17

Science and Management System 22 12

Table 2 shows almost half the respondents had chosen the program they registered to as one of their top three choices when applying to enter university, and more than half respondents had chosen the program based on their own interests and desires. However, 20% of respondents did not choose the program they presently registered to, and 17% of respondents were not interested in the program as shown in Figure. 3.

Table 2.Options respondents' application for university entrance

First Choice Second Choice Third Choice None in Choice

Option type

Top 3 Top 5 Top 8

Not Choose

34 20 36

Mean (%)

49.7 19 11.2 20.1

120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Number

✓ /VV / /• / ✓

Figure 3.Reasons of Choosing the Course

This research also looks at the respondents' experience in programming before entering university. It is found that only 21% of respondents had some experience in programming. The remaining 79% of respondents had no experience in programming. This is shown in Figure. 4.

Figure 4. Respondents' experience in programming

4.1.2 Respondents' perceptions before and after taking programming course

Data of respondents' perceptions towards programming course have been analyzed by combining respondents' answers into three categories ; Positive, Neutral, and Negative. Positive category refers to the 'Strongly Agree' and 'Agree' answers, Neutral category refers to the 'Not sure' answer, and Negative category refers to the 'Strongly

Disagree' and 'Disagree' answers. Figure. 5 shows the comparison between these three categories of answers for the pre-course and post-course perceptions towards the programming courses.

More respondents were reported to have positive perception than neutral and negative perception towards the importance of programming courses in future working life in both pre-course and post-course. The same result is shown for both pre-course and post-course perception towards whether programming is an interesting subject to learn. However, more respondents were reported to have negative and neutral pre-course perception towards whether the programming course is easy to understand and score good grades. This however changed in post-course perception, where the percentage of respondents who reported positive perception towards the same issues has increased slightly. As a whole, the percentage of respondents indicated positive perceptions of the course programming increased after attending the course.

Figure 5. Pre-course and post-course students' perceptions towards programming course

4.1.3 Respondents ' motivation

There are four types of motivations which are believed to drive respondents' will while taking the course; intrinsic, achievement, social, and extrinsic. From the questionnaire, extrinsic motivation is found to be more dominant than others with 41.3% as shown in Figure. 6.

80 60 40 20 0

Number

Intrinsic

Achieveme nt

Social

Extrinsic

Just pass

Figure 6.Types of motivation shown by the respondent

4.1.4 Comparative analysis and relationship

This section discusses the results and the relationships between variables found through comparative analysis conducted on the data obtained. The following are questions need to be answered by the analysis:

1. Does students' perception towards programming change after taking the programming course?

2. Does the pre-course perception affect students' motivation?

3. Do the pre-course perception and motivation affect student achievement?

4. Do the pre-course perception and motivation affect students' skills?

5. Do the pre-course perception and motivation influence the revision methods used?

6. Do the pre-course perception and motivation influence the amount of time allocated to revision?

7. Do the pre-course perception and motivation influence the lecture preparation?

8. Do the pre-course perception and motivation influence the method of solving assignment tasks?

The Wilcoxon Rank Test was used to investigate the differences between the pre-course and the post-course students' perceptions. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to investigate the differences between the students' pre-course perception and motivation with all the variables for the abnormal distribution data (non-parametric). The Correlation Test (Spearman) and Chi-Square Test were used to investigate the relationships between the students' pre-course perception and motivation with all the variables for the abnormal distribution data (non-parametric).

4.1.5 Differences between the pre-course and post-course perceptions

Analysis results using the Wilcoxon Rank test showed a significant difference ( p<0.005) between the students' pre-course and post-course perception towards the programming course, as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Differences of Students' Pre-course and Post-course Perceptions

N Mean Rank Sum of Ranks

T_Post-coursePerception - Negative Ranks 32a 51.61 1651.5

T_Pre-coursePerception Positive Ranks 68b 49.98 3398.5

Ties 79c

Total 179

a. T_Post-coursePerception < T_Pre-coursePerception,

b. T_Post-coursePerception > T_Pre-coursePerception

c. T_Post-coursePerception = T_Pre-coursePerception

4.1.6 Differences and the relationship of pre-course perception and motivation

Analysis results showed no significant difference between the students' pre-course perception and motivation. The Mean Rank values showed no big difference between pre-course perception and students' motivation. However, there is quite a significant relationship ( p<0.05) between certain pre-course perception and motivation categories. Students who have intrinsic motivation felt that programming course is easy to understand and easy to get good grades. Students who have social motivation felt that programming course is difficult to understand and difficult to get good grades. More than 50% of students who have intrinsic and extrinsic motivation felt that the course is interesting. This is shown in Figure. 7.

4.1.7 Differences and relationship between the pre-course perceptions, motivation and achievement

Analysis result showed no significant difference between the students' pre-course perception and achievement. However, there are a few pre-course perception that have very significant relationships ( p<0.001) with achievement. Students in poor achievement category are not sure of whether the programming course is easy to understand and they felt that it is difficult to get good grades for the course.

There is also a quite significant relationship ( p<0.05) between motivation and students' achievement. Students who have extrinsic motivation are those who are categorised in excellent and good achievement categories as shown in Figure. 8.

□ Motivation 1 ■ Motivation 2 B Motivation 3

□ Motivation 4

Figure 8. Relationship between motivationand achievement

4.1.8 Differences and relationship between the pre-course perceptionandmotivationwith perceived skill

Analysis results showeda significant relationship( p<0.005) betweenthe pre-course perceptionand perceived programmingskillsas showninTable4. Students whohave more positive pre-course perception felt that they have acquired higher level of programming skills. There is also a very significant difference ( p<0.001)between motivationand perceived programming skills. Students whohaveintrinsicmotivation felt that theyhave acquired higher level of programming skillsthanothertypes ofmotivation, as shown inTable5.

Table4.Relationship betweenpre-course perception and perceived programming skill using CorrelationTest(Spearman)

Pre-course Perception

Skills

Pre-course Perception

Correlation Coefficient

Sig. (2-tailed) N

.233**

.002 179

Skills

Correlation Coefficient Sig. (2-tailed) N

.233** .002 179

Table5.Differences ofmotivationwithskills

Motivation N Mean Rank

Skills 1 37 124.11

2 35 89.73

3 30 65.37

4 74 79.49

4.1.9 Differences and relations between the pre-course perception, motivation and revision methods

Analysis results showed no significant relationship between students' pre-course perception and the revision methods used. There is also quite a significant difference ( p<0.05) between motivation and revision methods used. Students who have intrinsic motivation are reported to do the required and recommended assignments by lecturers more often than students with other types of motivation.

Table6. Differences between motivationandrevisionmethods used

Motivation_N_Rank

1 37 101.72

2 35 70.34

3 30 96.08

4 74 87.41

Revision Methods

4.1.10 Differences and relations between the pre-course perception and motivation with total time allocated for revision

Analysis results showed no significant difference between the pre-course perception and time allocated for doing revisions, as well as between motivation and time allocated for revision.

4.1.11 Differences and relationship between the pre-course perception and motivation with lecture preparation Analysis results showed no significant relationship between the students' pre-course perceptions and the lecture

preparation, as well as between motivation and lecture preparation.

4.1.12 Differences and relationship between the pre-course perceptions and motivation with assignment solving method

Results of analysis showed no significant relationship between the students' pre-course perception and assignment solving methods. However, there is a significant relationship ( p<0.005) between motivation and assignment solving methods. Students who have intrinsic motivation are reported to solve their assignments on their own more often than students with other types of motivation, as shown in Figure. 9.

60.0% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 10.0% 0.0%

■ Motivation 1 @ Motivation 2 □ Motivation 3 0 Motivation 4

Figure 9. Relationship between intrinsic motivationwith solving assignments on their own 5 Discussion and future work

From the analysis results, it was found that students' perception changed after attending the programming courses. More students have positive perception at the end of the programming courses compared to the beginning of the courses. There are four types of motivation analyzed here; intrinsic, achievement, social and extrinsic. It was

found that pre-course perception and motivation are interrelated. Students who have intrinsic motivation reported more positive pre-course perception than other types of motivation. Although the students' pre-course perception do not fully influence the achievement, but to some extent it affects the programming skill they perceived to have acquired. Meanwhile, students' motivation is found to be connected with achievement and skill. Students who have intrinsic motivation acquired excellence grades and perceived high programming skills, and students who have intrinsic motivation are reported to do revision on their own more often than students with other types of motivation. Students' pre-course perception and motivation however, do not affect the amount of time allocated for revision and lecture preparation. There are a number of possible reasons to the limited time spent or allocated by students. One of them is due to the time constraints imposed on students enrolled for the program. Another reason is students' ineffective time management. This issue however need to be investigated further. Below are some recommendations for future work:

• More accurate data collection by giving two separate set of questionnaires for pre-course perception and postcourse perception.

• Further investigation into other possible factors that contribute to students achievement such as personality, learning style, educational background, and other related skills.

• Investigation into the teaching and learning methods used to deliver the course contents.

6. Conclusion

Students who have positive pre-course perception towards the programming course and driven by extrinsic motivation are more likely to achieve good grades and programming skills. Students driven by intrinsic motivation are more likely to show positive behaviour and attitudes to achieve excellent results compared to the other types of motivation.

Acknowledgement

We would like to thank UniversitiKebangsaan Malaysia for providing the research grant (UKM-PTS-2011-049). References

Abelson, Hal, Kim Bruce, Andy van Dam, Brian Harvey, Allen Tucker, & Peter Wegner.(1995). Technical Opinion: The First Course

Conundrum. Communications of the ACIlI. Vol. 38, No. 6, June, 1995: 116-117. Allison & Chuck.(1995). A Better C. C/CII Users Journal April : 67-78.

Berg C. & Anders R. (2005). Factors related to observed attitude change toward learning chemistry among university students. Chemistry

Education Research and Practice, 6 (1): 1-18 Berman, A. Michael, Rick Decker, Dung X. Nguyen, Richard J. Reid, & Eugene Wallingford. (1994). Using C++ in CS 1/CS2. SIGCSE Bulletin, March, 1994 : 383-384.

Centra, J. A., &Gaubatz, N. B. (2000). Student perceptions of learning and instructional effectiveness in college courses. Research Report No. 9.

The Student Instructional Report II. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Covington M.V. (2000). Goal theory, motivation, and school achievement: An integrative review. Annual Review of Psychology 51 : 171-200. Dalgety J., Coll R.K. & Jones A. (2003). Development of chemistry attitudes and experiences questionnaire (CAEQ)Journal of Research in

Science Teaching, 40 : 649-668. Engle & Charles B. (1995). An Educator's Perspective on Ada.Ada lCNews Vol. XII. No. 1, Winter : 1 - 4.

Hofer B.K. &Pintrich P.R. (1997) . The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to

learning. Review of Educational Research 67 : 88-140. Hofer B.K. (2001). Personal epistemology research: Implications for learning and teaching. Journal of Educational Psychology Review 13 : 353383.

Richard M. Ryan & Edward L. Deci.(2000). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions. Contemporary

Educational Psychology 25 : 54-67 . Jenkins. T. 2001. The Motivation of Students of Programming.Proceedings ofITiCSE2001 : 53-56.

Koon, J. & Murray, H. G. (1995).Using multiple outcomes to validate student ratings of overall teacher effectiveness. Journal of Higher Education, 66(1) : 61-81.

Mclver.L & Conway.D. (1995). Seven deadly sins of introductory programming language design, Technical Report : 95/234.

Pintrich P.R. 1994. Student motivation in the college classroom, In K.W. Prichard & R.M. Sawyer (Eds.), Handbook of college teaching theory

and applications : 23-43 , Greenwood, Westport. Paulsen M.B. & Wells C.T. (1998).Domain differences in the epistemological beliefs of college students.Research in Higher Education, 39 : 365384.

Sufianldris, Marini Abu Bakar&Norleyza Jailani.(2010). Menambahbaik Tugasan Kursus Pengaturcaraan Berorientasi Objek Bagi Memotivasi

Pelajar Untuk Mengaturcaraan. Kongres Pempelajaran dan Pengajaran UKM. Syahanim M. Salleh, HairullizaMohamad Judi, Zaihosnita Hood, ZarinaShukurdan Marini Abu Bakar, (2009). Perisian Cflow Sebagai Pemangkin Dalam Pembelajaran Pengaturcaraan. KongresPembelajarandanPengajaran.