Constructing Knowledge Through Coding
Our Crunch resource emphasizes students applying and exploring the information presented. A crunch command editor pane accompanies each page with new concepts so students can see for themselves how the computer responds to commands. In addition, the content provides example command snippets to get students started as well as suggested avenues for investigation.
Students receive immediate, rich feedback. There are a wide variety of questions — all of which are auto-graded, giving students a sense of their understanding of the material right after they are introduced to it and as they attempt harder and harder problems.
Lowering the Barrier to Entry
Crunch reflects the need for computer science education to meet students where they are. Like any specialized community, computer science has its own jargon. The formal teaching of computer science should not burden students with the assumption that they are fluent in this special language. The material is presented in smaller units that are more manageable for the students. The same vocabulary and concepts are covered, but in a more approachable way — state things as plainly as possible, and, when appropriate, use images, tables, or lists.
Another way in which this content is more approachable is that it is using many small challenges at the end of each assignment instead of one large program. Research shows that a variety of smaller problems increase student performance and reduce stress. Using many small programs leads to students spend a sufficient amount of time on their work, and they do not wait until the last moment to begin their work.