COVID-19 and Online Learning: Factors Influencing Students’ Academic Performance in First-Year Computer Programming Courses in Higher Education

17 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2021

See all articles by Elliot Mbunge

Elliot Mbunge

University of Swaziland

Stephen Fashoto

University of Eswatini - Department of Computer Science

John Olaomi

University of South Africa

Date Written: January 1, 2021

Abstract

The spread of COVID-19 pandemic continues to burden education sectors globally leading to the cancellation of face-to-face teaching and temporary closure of schools and universities in some countries. To ensure that teaching and learning continue during national lockdowns and other COVID-19 measures, schools and universities resort to online learning or distance-learning exacerbating existing inequalities. Such transformation mostly affected students pursuing practicum oriented professions such as science, technology, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM). Such professions require rigorous training and lab sessions, especially in computer programming courses. However, computer programming courses are perceived as difficult, complex and challenging especially in higher education. Therefore, the study sought to investigate factors influencing science, technology, engineering and mathematics students’ academic performance in first-year computer programming courses in higher education. The study revealed that besides the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, students’ academic performance in computer programming courses is influenced several factors including computer programming stereotype, digital literacy level, learning environment, pedagogical approaches, student’s cognitive learning style, the complexity of programming course setup, instructors’ competence to teach programming subject, availability and access to internet and computers, online programming materials, student’s coding background, self-discipline, student’s engagement in programming lessons, motivation, eagerness to get good marks in computer programming, students’ higher-order programming and thinking skills, students’ lecture and lab attendance.

Keywords: Computer programming, COVID-19, teaching, learning, students’ performance

Suggested Citation

Mbunge, Elliot and Fashoto, Stephen G and Olaomi, John, COVID-19 and Online Learning: Factors Influencing Students’ Academic Performance in First-Year Computer Programming Courses in Higher Education (January 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3757988 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3757988

Elliot Mbunge (Contact Author)

University of Swaziland ( email )

Private Bag 4
Kwaluseni, Swaziland
Swaziland
78246653 (Phone)
m201 (Fax)

Stephen G Fashoto

University of Eswatini - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Swaziland

John Olaomi

University of South Africa ( email )

P.O. Box 392
UNISA
Pretoria, Gauteng 0003
South Africa

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