Profiles of Motivated Self-Regulation in College Computer Science Courses: Differences in Major versus Required Non-Major Courses

Duane F. Shell, Leen Kiat Soh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of the present study was to utilize a profiling approach to understand differences in motivation and strategic self-regulation among post-secondary STEM students in major versus required non-major computer science courses. Participants were 233 students from required introductory computer science courses (194 men; 35 women; 4 unknown) at a large Midwestern state university. Cluster analysis identified five profiles: (1) a strategic profile of a highly motivated by-any-means good strategy user; (2) a knowledge-building profile of an intrinsically motivated autonomous, mastery-oriented student; (3) a surface learning profile of a utility motivated minimally engaged student; (4) an apathetic profile of an amotivational disengaged student; and (5) a learned helpless profile of a motivated but unable to effectively self-regulate student. Among CS majors and students in courses in their major field, the strategic and knowledge-building profiles were the most prevalent. Among non-CS majors and students in required non-major courses, the learned helpless, surface learning, and apathetic profiles were the most prevalent. Students in the strategic and knowledge-building profiles had significantly higher retention of computational thinking knowledge than students in other profiles. Students in the apathetic and surface learning profiles saw little instrumentality of the course for their future academic and career objectives. Findings show that students in STEM fields taking required computer science courses exhibit the same constellation of motivated strategic self-regulation profiles found in other post-secondary and K-12 settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)899-913
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • Approaches to learning
  • Computational thinking
  • Discipline-based education
  • Learning profiles
  • Student motivation
  • Student self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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