An Analysis of Using Coral Many Small Programs in CS1

Published March 26, 2021


J. M. Allen
University of California, Riverside

F. Vahid
University of California, Riverside, zyBooks, A Wiley Brand

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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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