Active learning in small to large courses
This paper presents our experiences promoting active learning in programming courses from introductory to advanced levels. We use a variety of techniques as our courses vary greatly in size and our facilities vary in layout and equipment. For large lectures, we present active interludes that require students to work in small groups, respond to periodic polls, or help a professor program. For moderately sized courses, we ask students to work in groups and share their observations with the class. Finally, in our Interactive Computer Classroom we have almost completely departed from long lectures to run the course in a workshop format, giving students a chance to work on the computer almost everyday in a supervised, safe environment. In short, although these techniques often require longer preparation time, we show that active learning can be done in any classroom situation and students must be active everyday to remain engaged in the material.