Exploring Inquiry Learning:
An EngageCSEdu Author and a User Discuss POGIL
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feedback from an instructor. If I want my
students to learn to work on teams, I can
assign them a team project and hope that,
somehow, they learn to work in teams.
But we know that most of the time one or
two of the students does the work and the
rest coast. If I lecture and they copy from
slides, those are not the skills my students
will need when they graduate. The more
that I can have them, in class, analyzing
problems, designing solutions, looking at
code, designing test cases, analyzing pros
and cons, the better. I can also coach them on
teamwork, interpersonal skills, and time management. When I’m right there as they work
together, I can see the interpersonal problems
and the conceptual blocks. I have more data
and I become a better teacher faster as a
result. It’s clear when something doesn’t work
and I know what to do differently.
Bo: I think that my big take-away is that in
POGIL I found a systematic way to do inquiry
learning that I believe works. And I’ve found
a systematic way to develop new course
materials that works. That’s something that
my institution had been looking for and that
nobody knew how to do. POGIL is a way to
More POGIL Assignments in
POGIL Activities ( 3) on Unit Testing in Java
with Junit by Clif Kussmaul. Three to four
students work in teams to learn about unit
testing in general, and JUnit specifically [ 6].
Beetle by Peter Drake. In this lab, students dissect a working implementation of
the Beetle (Cootie) game. Learning objectives include understanding class anatomy,
using objects, and problem solving [ 4].
1. Barker, L.J. When do group projects widen the
student experience gap? in Innovation and
Technology in Computer Science Education.
(Caparica, Portugal: ACM, 2005), 276–280.
2. Barker, L., Hovey, C. L. & Thompson, C. L. Results
of a large-scale, multi-institutional study of
undergraduate retention in computing. IEEE
Frontiers in Education Conference. (Madrid, Spain:
ACM, 2014), 1–8.
3. CS-POGIL: Process Oriented Guided Inquiry
Learning in Computer Science; http://cspogil.org/
What+is+POGIL. Accessed 2017 May 10.
4. Drake, P. Beetle. EngageCSEdu; https://www.engage-csedu.org/find-resources/beetle. Accessed 2017
5. EngageCSEdu, Collaborative Learning; https://www.
2017 May 10.
6. Kussmaul, C. POGIL Activities ( 3) on Unit Testing in
Java with Junit. EngageCSEdu; https://www.engage-
testing-java-junit. Accessed 2017 May 19.
7. Kussmaul, Clif. Searching in Hi-Lo - CS1 First Day on
Algorithm Design & Analysis. EngageCSEdu; https://
2017 June 30.
8. Lewis, S.E., & Lewis, J. E. Departing from Lectures: An
Evaluation of a Peer-Led Guided Inquiry Alternative.
Journal of Chemistry Education, 82 (2005), 135–139.
9. Salleh, N., Mendes, E. and Grundy, J. Empirical
Studies of Pair Programming for CS/SE Teaching in
Higher Education: A Systematic Literature Review.
IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 37, 4
Department of Mathematics &
College of Engineering and
Computing, Computer Science
and Software Engineering
Beth A. Quinn
University of Colorado at Boulder
National Center for Women &
DOI: 10.1145/3123650 Copyright held by authors.
“When I’m right
there as they work
together, I can
see the interpersonal
blocks. I have more
data and I become
a better teacher
faster as a result.”