An Investigation of the Role Programming Support Services Have for Mature Students

Nolan, Keith, Thompson, Amy, Noone, Mark and Mooney, Aidan (2020) An Investigation of the Role Programming Support Services Have for Mature Students.


Programming support services for introductory programmers have seen a rise
in popularity in recent years with third level institutions around the world
providing “safe spaces” for students to practice their programming skills and
get supports without the risk of being judged by anyone. These services appear
in many different structures including Support Centres, Software Studios and
help desks. The common trend however is that all the users of these services,
in general, report that the service has helped them in their studies and
garnered them with more confidence in their ability.
This paper examines the role which our Computer Science Centre played for
students who attended the support service during an intensive higher diploma
course. The intensive course is a 3-week course tailored to students who have
previously completed a degree in a field not related to CS and covers CS1 and
CS2 material. The structure and design of the support service is outlined in
this paper along with the supports offered. A high-level survey was conducted
to investigate the effect of the service on students programming self-efficacy.
Study design and methodology are described in detail. Early findings suggest
that the support services offered to these students improved their belief in their
own programming ability which in turn improved their exam grade outcome.
The findings provide valuable evidence to justify future research into the
functions of support services with the computer science domain.

View Item