Self-paced Mastery-learning Pilot Project in Computer Science

Self-paced Mastery-learning Pilot Project in Computer Science

  • Jennifer Campbell, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Paul Gries,¬†Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Jacqueline Smith,¬†Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts and Science
  • Andrew Petersen, Department of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University¬†of Toronto Mississauga

Abstract

This project will support the development of a self-paced mastery-learning version of an introductory programming course at UofT. Using this pedagogical approach, the instructors aim to: better meet the needs of the diverse students who enter relevant courses with varying levels of preparedness, introduce more flexible timelines and support systems for course completion, allowing more students to successfully complete courses and reducing enrollment pressure, enable newly-admitted students to start taking courses in the summer, and incorporate the Arts & Science Recognized Study Group Program to encourage peer learning.

The introductory programming course is currently offered asynchronously online, and the online resources and help room currently available for this course can easily be adapted to a self-paced format. With great variation in the amount of prior programming experience of our students, the cumulative nature of the course material, and significant enrolment pressure, our course is an ideal candidate to pilot the self-paced format. The self-paced course model could be beneficial to courses facing similar challenges.