Titterton, N., Lewis, C. M., & Clancy, M. (2010). Experiences with lab-centric instruction. Computer Science Education (Ed. Y. Ben-David Kolikant) 20(2), 79-102. LINK
Lab-centric instruction emphasizes supervised, hands-on activities by substituting lab for lecture time. It combines a multitude of pedagogical techniques into the format of an extended, structured closed lab. We discuss the range of benefits for students, including increased staff interaction, frequent and varied self-assessments, integrated collaborative activities, and a systematic sequence of activities that gradually increases in difficulty. Instructors also benefit from a deeper window into student progress and understanding. We follow with discussion of our experiences in courses at U.C. Berkeley, and using data from some of these investigate the effects of lab-centric instruction on student learning, procrastination, and course pacing. We observe that the lab-centric format helped students on exams but hurt them on extended programming assignments, counter to our hypothesis. Additionally, we see no difference in self-ratings of procrastination and limited differences in ratings of course pace. We do find evidence that the students who choose to attend lab-centric courses are different in several important ways from students who choose to attend the same course in a non-lab-centric format.