The Importance of the Campus - A Study on the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic in a CS2 Course
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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The educational context for students and educators across the world changed when the COVID-19 pandemic forced most educational institutions to shut down all on-campus activities in the spring of 2020. In this paper, we explore how the study behaviors of first-year computing students in a large scale CS2 course were affected by the rapid change from campus-based to online learning. This research aims to evaluate the effect of moving to an online-only mode of studying and learning, and consequently gaining insight into the role of the physical campus in computing education. A mixed-method research approach was taken to reach these goals by combining interaction tracking data with weekly student reports and interviews. Results indicate that campus-based activities provide essential scaffolding for students' study behaviors, specifically time management and organization. Additionally, the physical study environment provided an informal space for social and academic interactions not found in the online sphere. Furthermore, when moving to the online study environment, students struggled with adapting their study behaviors, spending less time on organized activities and not changing their independent habits. Lastly, the online environment seemed to create considerable differences between those who mastered studying and those who did not, generating a larger ability gap than on campus. In the paper, we provide further descriptions of these findings and some recommendations for computing educators facing similar challenges.