Master student published article based on his thesis work at Excited

Master student published article based on his thesis work at Excited

In 2019 Excited had 20 master students doing their master thesis on research related to Excited.

photo of V HellemAn example of these projects is Vegard Hellem’s thesis, looking into “The Effect of Mandatory Assignments on students learning outcome and motivation in introductory programming courses.” Having worked as a student assistant for project leader Hallvard Trætteberg in his course TDT4100, Hellem knew the discussions amongst the students and staff on mandatory assignments well. In his project he devised a research design where he could test the effect of these mandatory assignments by removing them for a group of the students, and subsequently measuring the learning outcome for students with and without mandatory assignments.

Hellem summarizes this as in a world in high demand of computer scientists, computer science education should be effective and quality conscious. A better understanding of what type of activities that are best suited for improving students' learning could enable further improvements for students taking computer science courses. The results of this thesis can be used as a starting point for further research into creating the best computer science education.

For Hallvard Trætteberg the study is interesting from two perspectives. As the lecturer in the course subject to the study, and as project head for Projects of becoming. “In the Project of becoming- project we are interested in the study program leader level, and want to do research that support decision-making for program leaders in IT”, Trætteberg says. Vegard’s master project is a good example of how student driven research can help inform the decisions we make as study program leaders because students are in much better position to highlight the educational and pedagogical pressure points in the students learning trajectory.”

Co supervisor for the project was Madeleine Lorås. “this project is very interesting for my research because he asks a question that has come up in my interviews with students” Lorås says. “I have found that students are very influenced, and sometimes constrained, by the educational design of the courses and programs. Mandatory assignments are one of these design elements and having him research this topic is very relevant for my research on study behavior in the first year.”

By supervising Vegard’s master thesis, she also got access to the very valuable data he collected. - We were also able to add some relevant questions and data collection points from Excited and Project of becoming's perspective, which I have since used in my research. In addition, we were able to continue the research even after Vegard graduated from NTNU, which has resulted in a research paper accepted at Educon 2020 with the title; The Effect of Mandatory Assignments on Students Learning Outcome and Performance in Introductory Programming Courses. In this paper we have added the exam results as a dimension of the analysis, which is a relevant aspect to my PhD project.