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Using Bitesize Videos to Enhance Students’ Experiences in a Level 2 Programming Module

  • Project leader(s): Soraya Kouadri MostéfaouiMark HallMarina Carter
  • Theme: Supporting students
  • Faculty: STEM
  • Status: Archived
  • Dates: April 2020 to November 2023

TT284 is a popular level 2 Web technologies module attracting over 1000 students in each presentation. TT284 does not cover any programming language or paradigm in a broad sense but focuses upon elements required to gain practical experience developing web and mobile applications including PHP, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3 and SVN.  Not only is it important for students to understand how these elements work, but also to understand how they all fit together. Due to the lack of previous programming and problem-solving experiences (given the lack of pure programming modules at level 1) students find the module very challenging and have difficulties to understand how the different elements interact. This results in loss of confidence, poor engagement and low satisfaction and retention.

Our focus in this project is to investigate the provision of bitesize videos to introduce key concepts and explain how they fit together in order to help students visualise the interactions. This draws on the premise that students don’t all learn programming in the same way, and some need a visual component in order to understand the interactions between the different web technologies. Additionally, we will investigate whether such a visual approach may benefit students with disabilities such as dyslexic students who struggle reading long portions of code.  

The aim is to provide a series of  bite-size  videos and module wide programming support sessions for the TT284-2020J presentation, with the potential to generalise this to the remaining presentations, the TT284 replacement module and other programming modules (an example of such a bitesize video can be found here). We will also analyse the impact of such provision on the students’ experiences with the module.

This proposed project builds on a small-scale pilot study in the TT284-2017J presentation that we have conducted. The initial findings are: 66% of the respondents (students) to the survey said the bitesize videos helped them engage more with programming and feel more confident; and 75% recommended the use of such videos in other programming modules.  The videos have proved to be particularly helpful for dyslexic students, one student described the videos as ‘a life saver’’.

There has also been an impact on students’ engagement with programming and subsequently better performance (77% on average on the TMA programming questions) as well as an improved retention. The project aims at generalising the small-scale pilot study to the whole module for the 2020J presentation. 


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