Challenging stereotypes and changing attitudes: The effect of a brief programming encounter on adults' attitudes toward programming

Polina Charters, Michael Lee, Andrew J. Ko, Dastyni Loksa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Computer programming is now used broadly across many industries, with a diversity of working adults writing programs and interacting with code as part of their jobs. However, negative attitudes toward programming continue to deter many from studying computer science and pursuing careers in technology. To begin understanding adults' attitudes toward computer programming and how we can improve them, we used an educational video game to give 200 adult participants a concrete programming experience via the web, and then collected their self-reported opinions about programming. We found that adults initially had poor attitudes toward programming, believing that it was difficult, boring, and something they generally could not learn. After the online learning experience, their attitudes improved significantly, regardless of gender, population density, or level of education. These results demonstrate that adult attitudes toward programming, while initially negative, can be quickly changed with a brief, positive exposure to programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2014 - Proceedings of the 45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Pages653-658
Number of pages6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2014Mar 8 2014

Other

Other45th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA
Period3/5/143/8/14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)

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