Supporting Creativity and User Interaction in CS 1 Homework Assignments

Tammy VanDeGrift, University of Portland

SIGCSE '15 Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 2015, 1-6.

© 2015 ACM

Linked version is the final published version.


In this paper, we describe CS 1 programming assignments that encourage design creativity and that utilize user testing. All course assignments allowed for some student-defined specifications; some assignments required user tests to encourage interaction with other people. The open-ended nature of the assignments supported students' creativity and motivation to learn. The user tests provided a platform for students to share their creations and knowledge about computing with others. Both the creative aspect and sharing aspect of the assignments led to students taking ownership of their work. Overall, 41 of 44 (93.2%) students enjoyed the open-ended nature of the assignments and sharing programs with users also enhanced their understanding of their programs and computing concepts.