Designing contributing student pedagogies to promote students' intrinsic motivation to learn

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In order to maximize the effectiveness of our pedagogies, we must understand how our pedagogies align with prevailing theories of cognition and motivation and design our pedagogies according to this understanding. When implementing Contributing Student Pedagogies (CSPs), students are expected to make meaningful contributions to the learning of their peers, and consequently, instructors inherently give students power and control over elements of the class. With this loss of power, instructors will become more aware that the quality of the learning environment will depend on the level of students' motivation and engagement rather than the instructor's mastery of content or techniques. Given this greater reliance on student motivation, we will discuss how motivation theories such as Self-Determination Theory (SDT) match and support the use of CSP and how CSP can be used to promote students' intrinsic motivation (IM) to learn. We conclude with examples of how we use principles of SDT to guide our design and use of CSP. We will particularly focus on how we changed the discussion sections of a large, required, sophomore-level class on digital logic and computer organization at a large, research university at relatively low-cost to the presiding class instructor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-388
Number of pages20
JournalComputer Science Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • computer architecture
  • contributing student pedagogies
  • intrinsic motivation
  • motivation
  • theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Education


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