A comparison of two laboratory-based approaches for teaching introductory computer science

Cindy L. Corritore, Betty L. Hickman, Neal Grandgenett, Robert Hitchcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper examines the role of a laboratory in the teaching of introductory computer science courses. The purpose of this exploratory study was to examine and compare the use of two specific laboratory-based alternatives, one in which students worked individually in a hands-on environment, and one in which students worked in an interactive group setting led by an instructor. Data were collected on general student performance, class attrition, and course-related perceptions in both settings. The results indicated that students in both the hands-on and the interactive demonstration laboratory sections performed relatively equally in the course activities. Also, an examination of student attrition rates noted a lower rate for each of the laboratory approaches when compared to a traditional lecture approach. Student opinions examined within the study suggested that students perceived a real need for laboratory-based instruction in introductory computer programming courses, but that they were very concerned about the extra work and class time that it might represent. Finally, the suggestion is made that laboratory instruction using interactive demonstration represents a less expensive, and perhaps an excellent intermediate alternative to more hands-on instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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