How can technology enhanced learning improve the efficiency and quality of help seeking and giving for programming tutorials?

L.E.I. Breymann*, A.H. Mader, H.M. Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Programming tutorials are self-regulated learning activities where students are
responsible for their own work pace and learning experience. They are working on programming assignments under supervision of teaching assistants (TAs), where help seeking is an essential skill. Especially, the ability to formulate specific questions contributes to higher test results. In addition, the likelihood of seeking help can be increased by electronic measures, as it is perceived as less threatening.

During programming tutorials at the University of Twente the queue management system is used. In order to improve the quality of the learning process, this system was expanded by the following features:
1. Students had to choose a category to which their question belongs.
2. Students had to formulate their question or select a previously asked

The extentions resulted from a Creative Technology Design process. For evaluation, quantitative data were gathered to measure the quality of the help seeking of students and the acceptance of the tool. Furthermore, TAs were interviewed to check if the tool improved the efficiency and quality of the help seeking and giving.

The data indicate that the amount of improvident help seeking reduced, the categories were perceived as useful by the students. Furthermore, adding categories to the questions offered the TAs the opportunity to select topics and to spread their attention more effectively. Typing out the questions did, however, not increase the amount of more specific questions asked. Future research includes how to guide students to ask better questions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngaging, Engineering, Education
Subtitle of host publicationBook of Abstracts, SEFI 48th Annual Conference University of Twente (online), 20-24 September, 2020
EditorsJan van der Veen, Natascha van Hattum-Janssen, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Tinne de Laet, Ineke ten Dam
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-020-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020 - Online, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Sept 202024 Sept 2020
Conference number: 48


Conference48th SEFI Annual Conference on Engineering Education, SEFI 2020
Abbreviated titleSEFI 2020
Internet address


  • Blended learning
  • Engineering in schools
  • Programming tutorials
  • Technology enhanced learning
  • Self-regulated learning


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