UCSD’s overwhelming argument for Peer Instruction in CS Classes
For teachers in those old, stodgy, non-MOOC, face-to-face classes (“Does anybody even *do* that anymore?!?”), I strongly recommend using “Clickers” and Peer Instruction, especially based on these latest findings from Beth Simon and colleagues at the University of California at San Diego. They have three papers to appear at SIGCSE 2013 about their multi-year experiment using Peer Instruction:
- They found that use of Peer Instruction, beyond the first course (into theory and architecture), halved their failure rates: http://db.grinnell.edu/sigcse/sigcse2013/Program/viewAcceptedProposal.pdf?sessionType=paper&sessionNumber=176
- They found that the use of Peer Instruction, with Media Computation and pair-programming, in their first course (on the quarter system, so it’s only 10 weeks of influence) increased the percentage of students in their major (tracking into the second year and beyond) up to 30%: http://db.grinnell.edu/sigcse/sigcse2013/Program/viewAcceptedProposal.pdf?sessionType=paper&sessionNumber=96
- They also did a lecture vs. Peer Instruction head-to-head comparison which showed significant impact of the instructional method: http://db.grinnell.edu/sigcse/sigcse2013/Program/viewAcceptedProposal.pdf?sessionType=paper&sessionNumber=223
If we have such strong evidence that changing our pedagogy does work, are we doing our students a disservice if we do not use it?