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Integrating Video and Programming Practice

This is a brief summary of Integrating Video and Programming Practice, presented at the 27th annual ACM conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE 2022) in Dublin, Ireland and published in the proceedings.

This presentation page is available at and its source is available on GitHub.


  • Increasing demand for eLearning resources to support asynchronous and remote learning
    • Needs and challenges underscored by educational responses to COVID-19 pandemic
  • There are ongoing efforts to broaden participation in computing

Previous Work

  • Began with a needs assessment to identify students’ interests
    • Study revealed significant discrepancies in some areas of students’ interests, especially by gender
      • Students who identified as women or non-binary were only about half as likely to express interest in games and electronic hobbies like robotics and microcontrollers
      • Minoritized students (by race and/or gender) expressed a variety of interests from multimedia to athletics and wellness, but seldomly considered those interests relevant to coding

We want to provide students with new perspectives and applications of coding so they can discover how it is relevant and meaningful to their lives.

  • Chico State and UC Santa Barbara are Hispanic-Serving Institutions
    • Embraced unique opportunity to share perspectives of historically marginalized students
    • Hired students to record brief demonstrations of how they would relate CS1 topics to their lives and interests
  • In a CS1 course, weekly (online) readings were supplemented with:
    • Video that demonstrated the same concept
      • Example: Jessica uses primitive data types to represent soccer player data
    • Link to a CodeWorkout collection of coding exercises to practice the corresponding concept
  • Preliminary study compared affective outcomes to other offerings of CS1 (without the video and practice exercises) and found significantly greater gains
    • Students tended to watch videos weekly, but fewer than a third practiced weekly

We want to complement unique perspectives with hands-on, interactive practice to reinforce coding applications

Integration of Video with Coding Practice

We developed a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) integrating the video and interactive practice features, as demonstrated here: C++ variables for soccer players.

In a term of CS1 at UCSB, we adopted

  • was supplementary material to each reading, with corresponding concepts
  • Gathered post-term surveys with additional questions to solicit formative feedback
  • Investigated three research questions:
    1. When video and practice are separate, how often do students engage in practice as frequently as watching videos? (post-hoc analysis of previous term)
    2. When video and practice are integrated, are students more likely to also engage in practice if they watch videos?
    3. What do students like and dislike about their experiences?


RQ1 - in post-hoc analysis of the term where videos and practice problems were provided separately (n=55), we discarded students who never used either and found:

  • 58% of students practiced less often
  • 11% practiced same frequency
  • 31% practiced more often than watching videos.

RQ2 - with the same procedure, we summarized how relatively often students (n=156) practiced and compared to expected (previous) results:

Less Same More
Expected 58% 11% 31%
Observed 38% 27% 36%

χ2=17.037, df=2, p<.001

When the video and practice features were integrated, students practiced more frequently relative to how often they watched videos.

RQ3 - performed thematic analysis of open-ended survey responses about what students (dis)liked about videos and programming practice

Videos (n=39, 27% of surveys)

  • Focus
    • Concise videos with specific topic
    • “Quick and concise to the point.”
  • Clarity
    • Clear and simple explanations
    • “[I] like how they make simple analogies.”
  • Novel reinforcement
    • Reinforcing understanding of a topic from a new perspective
    • “I liked that they demonstrated the topic through multiple examples because that helped me understand the application of the topic I was struggling with.”
  • Multimedia integration
    • Step-by-step implementation of a concept as well as a combination of multimedia.
    • “I liked the template with the tutorial and workout next to it. Gave it a much more hands-on video.”

Coding Practice (n=45, 29% of surveys)

  • Apply and evaluate skills
    • Practice in applying a topic and being able to evaluate their skill at it
  • Cohesion with breadth
    • Problems directly related to the concepts they study
    • Prefer to have multiple problems that provide variety of applications
  • Feedback
    • Prompt feedback associated with automated tests in coding problems
  • Interest and demand
    • Challenge and interest in the problems they are practicing
  • Usability
    • Satisfying and easy-to-use interface
    • One detractor: “design is a little outdated”

Future Work

Scaffolding concepts from worked examples to bug fixing and fill-in the blank gradually to coding from scratch

Multimedia recording featuring improved view of live coding, presenter gestures, and drawings/markup

Plan to adopt as primary homework, following a Mastery Learning model

Open Materials is free. GitHub hosts the free and open source software including the MVP used in this study as well as our active repository for CodeWitUs’s future releases.

Videos are made available via our YouTube Channel

C++ coding problems are available via CodeWorkout


The authors of this paper are grateful for the instructors who incorporated the surveys and/or into their courses, which was essential for this work. This material is based upon work supported by the Learning Lab, an initiative of California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Learning Lab.

Particular thanks to our students who have shared their valuable insights in producing videos to date:

  • Johanna Alvarado
  • Juan Aguirre-Ayala
  • Andrea Anez
  • Phinease Francis
  • Jason Gonzalez
  • Jessica Martinez
  • Destiny Rogers

As well as research assistants who contributed to the platform design and development:

  • Subhed Chavan
  • Daniel Dempsey
  • Isabel Hernandez
  • Aryan Mittal

Full Paper

The full paper will be available via ACM Digital library

To cite this paper, use the following reference in your bibliography:

Kevin Buffardi and Richert Wang. 2022. Integrating Videos with Programming Practice. In Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education Vol 1 (ITiCSE 2022), July 8–13, 2022, Dublin, Ireland. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages.

Or import the following BibTeX reference:

author = {Buffardi, Kevin and Wang, Richert}, title = {Integrating Videos with Programming Practice},year = {2022}, isbn = {9781450392013}, publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery}, address = {New York, NY, USA}, url = {}, doi = {10.1145/3502718.3524778}, abstract = {There is an increasing variety of tools available to support students outside of the classroom as they learn how to program. However, broadening participation in computer science will also require these tools to reinforce inclusivity, diversity, and equity. To address these needs, two Hispanic-Serving Institutions, California State University, Chico (Chico State) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), are collaborating to produce video tutorials featuring students from historically marginalized communities. In these videos, students demonstrate uses of programming concepts in contexts that relate to their lives and interests. This experience report describes the development of the videos and associated programming practice problems. In a mixed-method observational study (n=188) of CS1 courses at the two universities, we investigated students' engagement with the videos and practice problems. Preliminary findings revealed that when the videos and practice problems were provided as separate links, students tended to watch the videos but not engage in the practice platform. Consequently, this paper also describes the development of, which integrates video lessons with an adaptive drill-and-practice programming interface. We found that when presented with the integrated interface, students were more likely to engage with practice in tandem with watching videos (instead of just watching videos without practice, as previously observed). The paper also describes thematic analysis of students' qualitative feedback on the videos and practice problems.}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education Vol. 1}, pages = {241–247}, numpages = {7}, keywords = {computer science education, broadening participation, adaptive learning system, drill-and-practice, programming, cs1, coding,, elearning, video}, location = {Dublin, Ireland},
series = {ITiCSE '22} }