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  5. How successfully are students engaging with the Python component of SM123?

How successfully are students engaging with the Python component of SM123?

Project leader(s): 
Gemma Warriner

Retention on SM123 is lower than on other level 1 STEM modules. One issue that students face is getting to grips with some simple programming, with four weeks of the year dedicated to the study of Python. Learning to think in a logical way and to code may be very different from other study that students have done previously and the way that the Python content is delivered needs to account for that.

It is apparent from forums and SEaM comments that many students are daunted by Python and some do not make good progress in learning. This may include students that score well in other aspects of the module.

The aim of the project is to investigate student engagement with and attitude towards the Python programming in SM123, and the resources available to help them. This will be done primarily by use of a student questionnaire, attempting to identify any barriers that may prevent such students fully undertaking this aspect of SM123. As part of the analysis there will be focus on students that are new to coding.

This project will provide SPS and the SM123 MT with data that will lead to a better understanding of how students are engaging with Python. This will inform decisions on any changes that could be made with the presentation of Python in SM123 and other SPS modules that present Python.

If we can optimally tailor the delivery of Python for SM123 students, so that they find it a rewarding experience and can have success in this area, more students will be able to progress to level 2 and 3 and feel confident tackling Python at a higher level.

Gemma Warriner and Andy Diament poster (PDF)