An Analysis of Using Coral Many Small Programs in CS1

Published The Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 2021


Joe Michael Allen
University of California, Riverside

Frank Vahid
University of California, Riverside

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Coral is an ultra-simple programming language designed to look like
pseudocode while resembling industry programming languages like C++,
Java, and Python. Coral was created specifically for learners and thus,
in 2019, our CS1 began teaching programming fundamentals with Coral
during the first 3 weeks before switching to C++ for the remainder of
the term. Our university already adapted a many small programs (MSP)

teaching approach which involves assigning students multiple smaller as-
signments instead of only giving them one large assignment each week.

In this work, we share our experience using a hybrid Coral/C++ MSP
approach versus a pure C++ MSP approach. We summarize similarities
and differences between student performance and other metrics such as
time spent, start date, and more. We found that instructors can use a

hybrid Coral/C++ approach to have an easier class startup while main-
taining high student grade performance.

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