The MOOC Programming for non-programmers runs the colMOOC conversational agent for the third time

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The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has successfully run the MOOC “Programming for non-Programmers” for the second time through the colMOOC project, funded by the Erasmus+ initiative. The course presents the basic concepts and structures of algorithmic thinking and programming with Python language.

The first run of the course was held from November 2019 until January 2020 as a SPOC. In this course 321 computer science students were enrolled as part of the 1st Semester course “Introduction to Informatics”.

The course, incorporating the new innovative “chat agent” which encourages more student engagement and participation, allows participants to interact in pairs to discuss and solve the tasks presented to them.

During the course, students were asked to watch pre-recorded video lectures, answer multiple-choice quizzes after each video and at the end of each week, participate in weekly agent chat activities and submit a weekly programming assignment.

134 pairs completed the first chat activity, 122 the second, 120 the third, 111 the fourth, and finally 106 pairs completed the last chat activity. After each activity, students were asked to complete a post-activity questionnaire stating their experience with the agent chat activities. Over 50% of the course students participated in these questionnaires. We analyzed the results and we saw that more than 70% of the students who participated in these questionnaires rated more than average that they found useful the existence of the agent during the chat activity, and the interventions helped them to better answer the activity task.

A second run of the same course was held from March 2020 until early April (as a MOOC), open to everyone who wanted to participate. Almost 1,200 students enrolled on the course following the same activities as the November SPOC as mentioned above. 280 pairs completed the first chat activity, 223 the second, 168 the third, 157 the fourth, and 127 pairs completed the last chat activity. The course finished on April 12, 2020.

Due to a large demand for the course, The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has scheduled another run, starting on April 13, 2020.

Tο access the course curriculum, visit: https://colmooc.gunet.gr/info/?course=COLMOOC107