Enhanced learning of computer programming in university through collaboration using multi-touch tools

Alzahrani, Ahmed A. (2017) Enhanced learning of computer programming in university through collaboration using multi-touch tools. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


While collaborative learning is universally recognised as a process of considerable pedagogical value, and the enhancement of standard application interfaces to promote collaboration has formed the subject of previous studies, the literature addressing the degree to which Multi-touch technology is used remains limited. Multi-touch, multi-mouse tools are a novel category of groupware, which can enhance learning through collaborative use of those tools. The research aim is to develop a framework and a software tool known as the Learning to Program through a Computer-Aided Collaboration (LPCAC) tool. The LPCAC is a Multi-touch software tool that enhances the learning of computer programming in university through collaborative use of this tool. Subsidary objectives are pursued in the form of research questions, with most comparatively investigating and evaluating the use of the Multi-touch tool compared to the standalone PC-based approach. University students were selected to take part in a study to measure their performance improvements using the Multi-touch tools in a collaborative environment. A two-part process was followed to analyse the difference between student collaborations using Multi-touch with multi-mouse devices cmpared to standalone PC-based system with a single mouse device. Data collection involved video recording and a questionnaire analysis. Data analysis followed an eight-step process to evaluate the process of collaborative programming, which includes an analysis of collaboration patterns, time on task, equity of participation and design quality. While the Multi-touch tool is limited in a number of ways, its multiple points of contact and the collaborative activity promote a more favourable software design process when compared to the standalone PC-based condition. Although further research is needed, this study has found that Multi-touch technology represents a promising prospect for application in teaching computer programming in educational establishments, as well as improving the software development process in the wider collaborative software development.

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