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Death To Deadlines

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Various approaches to allowing flexibility of CS assignments (deadlines, choices, graduated requirements, etc.) have been used in CS classes and some of the results.

Various approaches to allowing flexibility of CS assignments (deadlines, choices, graduated requirements, etc.) have been used in CS classes and some of the results.

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Transcript

  • 1. Death to Deadlines A 21 st Century Look at the Use of Deadlines and Late Penalties in Programming Assignments Katrin Becker
  • 2. We Need Deadlines…
    • Because…..
    • Must learn to budget time
    • Discipline
    • Instructor workload
    • Order
    • Because
    Not-quite-golden rule: Do unto others what was done unto you.
  • 3.
    • Are we really sure that strict deadlines help people learn time management?
    • (after 25 years of teaching, I’m not…)
  • 4. Research on Deadlines:
    • Distance education
    • Women and minorities
    • “ at-risk” (disadvantaged, encumbered, older)
    • Current Wisdom:
      • “ Extensions mitigate against students’ learning how to budget time.”
      • But do they really?
      • Evidence 
      • deadlines = when to work *not* endpoint.
  • 5. The Incredible Shrinking Enrollments….
    • What makes CS unattractive?
    • Excessive workload
    • Competitiveness
    • Dullness
  • 6. The Incredible Shrinking Enrollments….
    • What helps?
    • Flexibility  autonomy
    • Learner control (ownership)
    • Well-defined expectations
    • Authentic tasks
  • 7. What are programming assignments for?
    • Experience with language
    • Towards understanding fundamental concepts
    • Logical program structures
    • Sound design
    • Clear documentation
    • Correctness
    • Error checking & recovery
    • Adherence to deadlines????
  • 8. Observations
    • Class Demographics (over 7 years):
      • CS101: 60->200 students
      • CS 102: 29 - >150 students
      • 6 assignments / term
      • Worth 20-30% (last 2 X for CS102: 50%)
  • 9. Variations on a Deadline
    • 1. Electronically enforced (large class….)
      • On time or don’t bother.
      • Occasional extensions (NOT ideal)
    • 2. 1 letter grade / day late
    • 3. Bonus for “on-time, 3 days’ grace, then late
      • 10-20% consistently earned bonus
    • 4. NO deadlines
    • 5. Bonus for on time + grace + late penalty
  • 10. Submission Requirements
    • MUST submit 4/6
    • - or –
    • Doesn’t matter
      • Made no difference in rates of submission:
        • 1 st assignment = 90% submitted
          • Close to 100% of students who remained in class
        • Last assignment = 60-70% submitted
          • Deadlines – strict or non-existent made no difference .
  • 11. What was different?
    • GRADES
      • Averages went from ‘C’ to ‘B’ on assignments.
  • 12. Can we learn from games???
    • Quality of learning & will to continue…
      • Depends on what goals students bring into the classroom & prevailing in-class rewards structures.
  • 13. Typical:
    • Relative assessment (curving)
    • leads to competitive ability games
    • failure-oriented
  • 14. Results:
    • Failure avoidance, not mastery
    • Other students become obstacles* instead of allies
    * high score = perfect score
  • 15. What can we learn from games?
    • Reward achievement
    • Increasing penalties that start low
    • Opportunities to try again
    • Clear goals
    • One’s achievement not tied to another’s failure
  • 16. Putting Ideas to Use
    • Descriptive explanations of requirements and how to meet them
      • Rubrics
      • A-B-C requirements
    • Flexible Deadlines
  • 17. Benefits
    • Lowers stress – encourages risk-taking
    • Places control with student
    • Can work around life & other classes
    • Fewer complaints
    • Fix that last bug
    • Gender & cultural equity
    • Reduces risk of cheating?
  • 18. Costs
    • Grading process more complex (assignments don’t come in ‘batches’)
    • Re-submission increases workload (only 10-20% though)
    • Markers need to be flexible (and competent)
      • questions get asked out of sequence & out of context
    • Instructors must be attentive to students – learning time management becomes explicit
  • 19. Best Practices
    • Clear limits
      • When
      • How often
        • Draw the line
    • Bonus in favour of penalty
      • w/ upper limit for perspective
    • Limited grace period w/ no penalties
    • Increasing penalites
    • Resubmission (once or twice)
  • 20. Message
    • Achievement vs. failure avoidance
    • Learning vs. hoop-jumping
    • Collaboration vs. competition
    • Community of Learners
    • Increased retention
  • 21. Thanks

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