Exploring Pair Programming Benefits for MIS Majors

Tendai A Dongo, April H. Reed, Margaret T. O'Hara
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 15  •  2016  •  pp. 223-239
Pair programming is a collaborative programming practice that places participants in dyads, working in tandem at one computer to complete programming assignments. Pair programming studies with Computer Science (CS) and Software Engineering (SE) majors have identified benefits such as technical productivity, program/design quality, academic performance, and increased satisfaction for their participants. In this paper, pair programming is studied with Management Information Systems (MIS) majors, who (unlike CS and SE majors taking several programming courses) typically take only one programming course and often struggle to develop advanced programming skills within that single course. The researchers conducted two pair programming experiments in an introductory software development course for MIS majors over three semesters to determine if pair programming could enhance learning for MIS students. The program results, researchers’ direct observations, and participants’ responses to a survey questionnaire were analyzed after each experiment. The results indicate that pair programming appears to be beneficial to MIS students’ technical productivity and program design quality, specifically the ability to create programs using high-level concepts. Additionally, results confirmed increased student satisfaction and reduced frustration, as the pairs worked collaboratively to produce a program while actively communicating and enjoying the process.
pair programming, collaborative learning, MIS curriculum, collaborative programming
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