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A Mooc-Based Computer Science Program for Middle School: Results, Challenges, and the Covid-19 Effect

EasyChair Preprint no. 5305

10 pagesDate: April 9, 2021

Abstract

In an attempt to pave the way for more extensive coverage of Computer Science Education (CSE) in K-12, this research developed and made a preliminary evaluation of a blended-learning Introduction to CS program that is based on an academic MOOC. Using an academic MOOC that is pedagogically effective and engaging, such a program can provide teachers with disciplinary scaffolds while allowing them to focus their attention on enhancing students’ learning experience and nurturing critical 21st-century skills such as self-regulated learning. As we demonstrate, this enabled us to introduce an academic level course to middle-school students. In this research, we developed the principals and initial version of such a program, targeting ninth-graders in science-track classes who learn CS as part of their standard curriculum. We found that the middle-schoolers who participated in the program achieved academic results on par with undergraduate students taking this MOOC for academic credit. Participating students also developed a more accurate perception of the essence of CS as a scientific discipline. The unplanned school closure due to the COVID19 pandemic outbreak challenged the research but underlined the advantages of such a MOOC-based blended learning program above classic pedagogy in times of global or local crises that lead to school closure. While most of the science track classes seem to stop learning CS almost entirely, and the end-of-year MoE exam was discarded, the program’s classes smoothly moved to remote learning mode, and students continued to study at a pace similar to that experienced before the school shut down.

Keyphrases: Blended Learning Program, Computer Science Education, K-12 Science Education, MOOC

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
@Booklet{EasyChair:5305,
  author = {Shai Perach and Giora Alexandron},
  title = {A Mooc-Based Computer Science Program for Middle School: Results, Challenges, and the Covid-19 Effect},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 5305},

  year = {EasyChair, 2021}}
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