Associate Professor and Chair of the Information Systems program, Dr. MacGranaky Quaye and Dr. Salihu Dasuki, (former Assistant Professor in the IS program), have posited that the use of visual game programming, such as “Alice”, to introduce students to computer programming concepts is very promising.
It will appear in Emerging Research, Practice, and Policy on Computational Thinking.
Their contribution was based on a case-study they did using 15 students who were registered in an AUN introduction to computer science course. The paper outlines how the computer science and software engineering students at AUN, which typifies a university in a developing country, can acquire computational skills using a visual game programming environment.
The researchers said the study is important because of the scarcity of research on how the teaching and learning of programming could be further enhanced in universities in developing countries.
“The results of the study,” the duo wrote in their abstract, “show that “Alice” motivates students to learn to program and also enhances the successful use of computational thinking skills such as problem-solving, debugging, simulation, algorithm building, and collaboration.”
Although the programming language does not teach students advanced programming skills, it provides a high level of motivation for students who are just beginning to program. “The use of “Alice” to do programming was also fun, thus motivating students to learn common programming constructs such as methods, functions, and events.”
By Omorogbe Omorogiuwa