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Death to Deadlines: A 21st Century Look at the Use of Deadlines and Late Penalties in Programming Assignments
The practice of setting hard deadlines, sometime s with stiff penalties for late submissions has been the norm in many CS departments for as long as most can remember. This paper will examine the notion of submission deadlines as applied to programming assignments, in particular in the freshman year of a four-year computer science program. A brief outline of the common practices and the effect on novice students will be presented, followed by an alternative strategy that was implemented in a relatively small (i.e. 30 students) class in September 2005. Some initial student reactions are outlined along with known research from education which supports a more flexible approach such as this. The discussion that follows will outline the expected benefits from allowing greater flexibility in assignment submissions, the context necessary for successful implementation, as well as some of the drawbacks and difficulties. It begins by examining the place of deadlines in the curriculum and the effect this often has on students. Next, a highly successful approach from an unlikely source is reviewed to discover which elements might be appropriated and applied in a post-secondary learning environment. That unlikely source is modern video games. The approach used there is highly relevant to work that involves setting challenges, and to experiencing and accepting their associated consequences. Both of these conditions exist in a typical CS programming assignment.
presentations (communicative events)
Katrin Becker, Death to Deadlines: A 21st Century Look at the Use of Deadlines and Late Penalties in Programming Assignments presented at WCCCE 2006 - The Western Canadian Conference on Computing Education, Calgary, Alberta, May 4-6, 2006.
Science and Technology