Cracking the Code: The Effects of Using Microcontrollers to Code on Students' Interest in Computer and Electrical Engineering Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2018 IEEE. Professors who have integrated computer programing into their college courses have faced a complex challenge as students often have had difficulties learning the fundamental concepts of coding due to a lack of prior knowledge and interest. There are few existing studies in which researchers have investigated how to prepare 6th-12th grade students for coding-oriented college level STEM courses using physical computing materials. The purpose of this study was to first design and implement a microcontroller coding course during a two week STEM summer camp for middle and high school students (N=86) in order to prepare such students for codingoriented STEM courses in college. The results from the quantitative data (surveys) and qualitative data (interviews and observations) indicated that students, after taking the course, felt that they were more likely to be successful in courses requiring coding tasks because they had developed an initial understanding of coding. Most students showed an increased interest (p <.05) in majoring in computer and electric engineering after engaging in the microcontroller course includes coding. Incorporating coding into middle and high school STEM courses may have far reaching implications for student preparation in programming and interest in computer and electrical engineering.

name of conference

  • 2018 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Bicer, A., Lee, Y., Capraro, R. M., Capraro, M. M., Barroso, L. R., Bevan, D., & Vela, K.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Bicer, Ali||Lee, Yujin||Capraro, Robert M||Capraro, Mary M||Barroso, Luciana R||Bevan, Daniella||Vela, Katherine

publication date

  • January 2018