Computer students: identification of a success profile

Conference proceedings article


Research Areas

Publication Details

Author list: Sobral SR
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
Languages: English-Great Britain (EN-GB)


The first cycle courses in Informatics at the Portucalense University have had a curricular evolution, which aligns with the patterns defined by the ACM/IEEE and with the job market’s demands. This systematic review of the curriculum has place every two years and, as a practical result, has a high employability rate, which is very near 100%. Like the Informatics course, the Portucalense University has another course, Management of Information Systems, created for students who wish for a more pronounced branch of Management with Informatics. It’s recent, but it will surely have employability rates so high as the first one in the future. However, there is a high percentage of students of the course of Informatics who aren’t successful during the course. Especially in the curricular units of the first years, where we can highlight Algorithm and Programming (AP) [1], which is the first curricular unit that the students have in the first semester of the first year and which initiates them in computer programming. Programming Fundamentals (PF) [2] is a curricular unit of the course of Management of Information Systems and appears in the first semester of the second year; the subjects taught in this curricular unit are practically half of those taught in the curricular unit of AP of the Informatics course. PF has less hours, less credits and matches more with a course, which has a combination of management with informatics. These technologically relevant CUs are essential to the appropriate performance of the course, not only for the taught issues, but also because the subjects are chained to the curricular units of the following years. The acquisition of competences for the development of programs in the curricular units is one of the challenges, which the students are required to deal with. The main motive has to do with the need to develop capacity of abstraction, which, as it is known, in Portugal isn’t developed with the training in secondary education. In the referred curricular units, the first approach to algorithmic thinking is made, as well as the introduction to programming language to solve small problems. The difficulty in dealing with this problem and the need to search for alternative ways to solve it, with an imperative to know the profile of the students which enter and evolve throughout the semester, the progress of their knowledge through individual and group work. In this context, this article will present a study based on the students who attended AP, as they attended PF last semester, describe the student’s admission profiles, identify some characteristics and habits which may contribute to their developement, as well as attendance to classes and the results achieved. Is it easier do deal with abstraction for the men? Do the students who don’t attend the classroom have the same level as the others? On average, how many hours should a student study to be successful? Are fondness, technological dexterity, interest for technology and the motivation referred to above relevant? Does the use of technology favour learning? Is age important? Is the anterior knowledge of some computational techniques better or is it preferable that the students don’t have previous programming knowledge? These are some of the questions which the study responds to, aiming to identify the profile of the students with biggest success for the curricular units which initiate university students through the world of programming.


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Last updated on 2020-03-01 at 12:40