Reflecting on a Study of Competitive Programming and Cultural Inclusion

Length of Study

The study is designed to take place over two academic terms, which provides adequate time to collect meaningful data. The inclusion of an initial summer term without competitive programming establishes a baseline for comparison. The second summer term incorporates competitive programming using standardized questions, allowing assessment of this pedagogical approach. The fall term offering adds the dimension of culturally relevant questions, enabling analysis of their impact. Extending the study over multiple terms enables more robust data collection and analysis.

Promoting Active and Engaged Learning

The core content is delivered through weekly lectures focused on programming concepts. The competitive programming contests complement the lectures by providing opportunities to practice applying concepts. Weekly competitive programming contests foster active learning in several key ways. Students must apply conceptual knowledge to solve concrete programming problems. This process reinforces their understanding and helps identify knowledge gaps. The contest format adds an engaging gamification element through scoring, feedback, and peer comparison. Using standardized questions initially assesses whether baseline content needs are being met.

Introducing culturally relevant questions aims to promote better integration of concepts by relating them to students’ cultural knowledge and experiences. Having students co-create contest questions in the fall term further activates learning. They must think critically to develop culturally relevant problems that integrate with the content. This approach promotes deeper engagement with the material and encourages collaboration with classmates, allowing students to take ownership of their learning.

Addressing Teachers’ Needs

The study aims to provide teachers with insight into using competitive programming and culturally relevant pedagogy. The data collected will help determine the effectiveness of these approaches in an international educational setting. Instructors will gain an understanding of how competitive programming engages students versus standardized practice problems. They will also see whether student-created culturally relevant questions increase participation and motivation. The study addresses teachers’ needs for effective and inclusive instructional strategies. They will gain practical knowledge from the comparative data on different contest designs.

Promoting Collaborative Participation

Collaboration is encouraged through the group development of culturally relevant contest questions. Students can brainstorm and build on each other’s ideas, which fosters teamwork. Producing questions from diverse cultural perspectives requires working together. Students are also given the choice of problem-solving in teams. Students can motivate each other and strategize in groups for the competitions. Their scores are tracked on a collective leaderboard which reinforces the collaborative element. The shift from individual to team contest creation necessitates and enables productive collaboration.

The multi-term study design, interactive contest format, customized problems, and collaborative elements demonstrate an interesting pedagogical approach that promotes engaged and inclusive learning. The results should provide valuable insights for computer science educators.

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