Smalltalk in Moodle

Learning Smalltalk using the course mangement system moodle

Abstract: The "Programming 1" lecture at the NORDAKADEMIE University in Elmshorn, Germany consists of a basic course in programming by means of the programming language Smalltalk. In this paper we would like to present the didactic concept of an online-course and its implementation into the moodle course management system. This expands the lecture series into a blended-learning-solution, where students are able to learn Smalltalk both at university and at home. In addition, we have added several cooperative elements to the course due to the results of various research studies (e.g. Slavin), which underlined the positive effects of cooperative learning. After brief research of related work and the use of moodle in programming courses at other universities, we developed five elementary learning activities. These activities are "receiving knowledge through screencasts", "explaining technical terms", "writing reports", "checking one’s own learning progress" and "group programming". These learning activities will be practised at different points in the course and will be explained in detail in our paper.

The moodle-course was originally developed for a two-semester blended-learning course and first introduced in January 2009. So we can now look back on a one-semester blended-learning lecture series on the Smalltalk programming language and will begin with the second semester in August. The initial results of an intermediate survey of students showed that the students rated the moodle course very positively.

In our paper we will explain the learning activities and provide an overview of the findings obtained during the first course, including a summary of the survey results after one semester.

Bio: Jan Bartelsen works as a research assistant at the private NORDAKADEMIE university. His research activies are e-learning and moodle. In this project he is working together with Johannes Brauer, professor at the NORDAKADEMIE university, who has been teaching in the computer science education sector for over 30 years.