Engaging Every Student in Large Laptop-Enhanced Courses

R.P. Pargas (USA)


In-class interactivity, Laptop-enhanced courses, Peer instruction, Real-time assessment


This paper proposes that with the right hardware and software tools, it is possible to: (1) engage students during lecture with short in-class exercises to help them to learn course material immediately, (2) provide students with feedback on how they are doing on a particular topic, (3) conduct frequent (even daily) assessment of each student in order to identify students who are not catching on, and (4) to conduct short programming exercises in lecture or lab, exercises that are easy to evaluate and can give valuable clues as to who can program and who cannot. We show how we use a web-based tool called MessageGrid in a laptop-enhanced computer science class to implement student activities that both engage the students and reap the benefits of peer-instruction and peer-collaboration. The exercises we describe and the pedagogical techniques we employ can be used in CS1, CS2, CS4, and other computer science classes.

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