Media Effects Research Lab - Research Archive

Serious or fun—how should we portray programming to laypersons?

Student Researcher(s)

Chulakorn Aritajati (Masters Candidate); Joslenne Pena (Masters Candidate)

Faculty Supervisor

INTRODUCTION

Computer science lacks in interest and diversity, there are several reasons why individuals choose not to study or pursue computer science. We were motivated to investigate further reasons as to why individuals have certain attitudes toward computer science. Through an online experiment using Amazon Mechanical Turk, we administered a randomized short video and survey to elicit their attitudes toward computer science.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

For the general population, what is the relationship between fun and serious computer science video clips and their attitudes toward computer science?
H1: Participants who watched the fun clip will have more self-concept than participant who watched the serious clip.
H2: Participants who watched the fun clip will have more learning computer science than participant who watched the serious clip.
H3: Participants who watched the fun clip will have more career identity than participant who watched the serious clip.
H4: Participants who watched the fun clip will have more important of computer science than participant who watched the serious clip.
H5: Participants who watched the fun clip will have more self-efficacy than participant who watched the serious clip.
H6: Participants who watched the fun clip and have large technology support network will have more self-concept than participant who watched the serious clip and have small technology support network.

METHOD

Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk, we provided $0.80 cents per completed task (our survey). Our chosen stimuli were two videos on the same concept both hosted on Youtube and similar length of duration. We randomly assigned videos and participants partook in our survey through Turk and developed on Qualtrics.

RESULTS

The serious video influenced participants to realize the importance of computer science and have more positive attitude toward this field. People who had large technology support networks had more positive views on computer science after they watched the serious video than the fun video, but people who had small technology support networks had opposite behavior. However, both videos did not have different effects on learning computer science, pursuing a computer-related career, and self-efficacy on programming.

CONCLUSION

Although, the fun video is interactive, the serious video induces a more positive attitude towards computer science. This was not consistent with what we originally hypothesized, that fun would increase the attitudes of these individuals. Further, there are other factors involved with disinterest, such as self-efficacy, technology support network, learning and understanding a concept. If an individual has the larger support network, the serious video will elicit a more positive response of attitude, whereas, the opposite is true for fun. These results speak to a larger volume of ideas regarding the environments of individuals and the varying factors that may affect their attitudes.

For more details regarding the study contact

Dr. S. Shyam Sundar by e-mail at sss12@psu.edu or by telephone at (814) 865-2173

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