A comparative study of time-sharing vs. batch processing in the teaching of introductory programming in FORTRAN Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4q77fv01z

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  • The problem studied was to determine if there were any significant differences (5% level) between control and experimental groups of students using rapid batch processing and time-sharing computer facilities in the study of elementary Fortran programming. Students were randomly assigned to the control (batch processing) and experimental (time-sharing) groups with all students receiving the same in-class instruction in Fortran. Students were measured on four items for each problem solution: number of minutes to prepare the first run; number of runs required to obtain a correct run; number of syntax errors per run; and number of logic errors per run, These measures were reported on student log forms. Following the completion of the solution of three problems, students completed an in-class problem of similar nature which the instructor submitted to obtain syntax and logic error counts. Students were then required to use the alternative mode at least once during the next six weeks of problem solution and tested again in class using a similar type of problem. Counts of syntax and logic errors were determined by the instructor as in the previous test, The study was performed at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a largely commuter university of about 6, 000 students, in the Fall semester 1971 and replicated in the Spring semester. Facilities used exhibited a high degree of comparability so that the study might avoid confounding variables. Specifically, a Sigma 7 Xerox Data Systems computer (64K), and the BTM (Batch Time- Sharing Monitor) system, located on the Reno campus and connected to the Las Vegas campus by telephone was the facility in use. Data were tested for mean differences using Mann-Whitney U (for small groups), Student's t, Analysis of Variance F, and Analysis of Covariance F, using grade point average and IBM Aptitude Test for Programming Personnel as covariates. No differences significant at the 5% level were obtained. The failure to reject any of the six hypotheses, designed to detect differences between control (batch processing) and experimental (time-sharing) groups on measures of time required to prepare the initial run, number of runs required for successful problem completion, and numbers of syntax and logic errors detected per run, argues that there is no difference in utilizing time-sharing or fast batch processing in the teaching of elementary Fortran, when limited to the kinds of numerical problems utilized to illustrate uses of particular language features, provided the facilities used are comparable to the degree maintained in this study.
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