The effect of closed laboratory activities
on the comprehension of five concepts
and the perception of effectiveness
of the course in a second semester
computer science course
Abstract of Doctoral Thesis
Debra Lynn Burton, Ph.D.
The University of Texas at Austin, 1992
Supervisors: Lowell J. Bethel and Nell B. Dale
The investigation studied the effects of using closed laboratories on
students at a major southwest research university enrolled in the second
computer science course required of computer science majors. Students are
required to attend a discussion section in addition to the lecture. There
were a total of ten discussion sections, half were randomly assigned to
remain discussion sections throughout the semester and half to act as closed
laboratories for five weeks while the selected concepts were being covered
(one-third of the total weeks).
In this study four hypotheses were tested, two major and two minor, using
data collected by the Burton Perception Instrument and the Burton Comprehension
Instrument. The tested hypotheses were: (1) no significant difference between
the two groups on comprehension of the five concepts, (2) no significant
difference between the two groups on perception of the effectiveness of
the course, (3) no significant difference between the students identified
as less likely to succeed in the two groups on comprehension of the five
concepts, and (4) no significant difference between the students identified
as less likely to succeed in the two groups on the perception of the effectiveness
of the course.
The results of the analyses showed that the inclusion of the closed laboratories
made no significant difference on the concept comprehension or perception
of the effectiveness of the course. Therefore the use of closed laboratories
appears to be no more effective than traditional discussion sections. In
terms of the students identified as less likely to succeed in the course,
the results were the same, there was not significant difference between
those students who attended discussions all semester and those that attended
closed laboratories for five weeks (approximately one-third of the semester)
and regular discussion sections the remainder of the semester.
Copyright (c) 1992 by Debra Lynn Burton. Presentation of
this material by the Department of Computer Sciences at the University of
Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the
author, who has retained all copyrights in the works.