The Transient Emotions and Conceptions of Students Crossing a Threshold While Learning to Program: A Phenomenographic Study

ID: 38834 Type: Full Paper: Other
  1. Jacqui Chetty and Duan van der Westhuizen, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Tuesday, June 25 2:45 PM-3:15 PM Location: Saanich 2 View on map

Presider: Jennifer Seaton, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Abstract: According to Meyer and Land, there are “jewels within every discipline” that can transform the manner in which students view core concepts related to the discipline. This transformation is often compared with a ritualistic experience of crossing a threshold, where students learn to become practitioners. However, such experiences often cause much discomfort and students exhibit oscillating emotions and misunderstandings. This paper describes a study that was performed with novice students learning a computer programming course, to highlight such transient emotions. As students emotions are related to motivation and motivation is a major contributor of whether students are successful or not, capturing such emotions can demonstrate to educators that they are not merely communicators of information but also motivators. Furthermore, using a phenomenographic research approach, students’ conceptions regarding a threshold concept program dynamics is investigated. Educators who are cognizant of novice students’ conceptions can guide them across the threshold.

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