Effectiveness of using digital game playing in a first-level programming course

Sandra Westcott, Pace University


In this high tech world of globalization it is paramount that students know how to think critically, and know how to identify, analyze, and solve problems quickly and effectively. Computer programming courses can provide students with a good foundation in these basic skill sets however, in many U.S. colleges and universities student enrollment in computer related majors is declining. In the fall of 2006 only 1.1 percent of incoming freshmen expressed any interest in computer science as a major. Enrollment in Computer Science needs to increase if we are to remain competitive. Often students enrolled in introductory computer programming courses find the subject difficult. Several studies have concluded that even after students successfully complete an introductory programming course, they still find it difficult to design and code programming solutions. This research investigates the effectiveness of using digital game playing to bring computer programming education into the world of experience of novice programming students enrolled in a college-level introductory computer programming course. The research determines whether or not digital game playing improves the effective transfer of the students’ problem solving, critical thinking, logical, and programming knowledge from game playing to a formal programming environment. This research also explores whether this method is more effective for certain majors.

Subject Area

Computer science

Recommended Citation

Westcott, Sandra, "Effectiveness of using digital game playing in a first-level programming course" (2008). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3338734.



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