Design Patterns for CS Education/Design Patterns/Gender paired programming

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Gender Paired Programming

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Pattern Name


Problem: Males and females have a different dynamic when working together. In early programming courses males can tend to dominate and not have confidence in the women.

Level (Introduction, Intermediate)

Semester (any)

Activity type (programming, problem solving)

Solution: Students are assigned to work in gender pairs (MM or FF) in a structured environment that involves defined roles that the students share.

Formation (random, prescribed)

Size (pairs)

Composition (any)

Duration (any)

Contribution to grade (small, medium)

Activity progression (individual to group )

Roles ( task specific)

Rationale: In a MF environment there are dynamics that interfere with learning. Gender pairing helps remove those dynamics. It can be a confidence-building exercise for women and demonstrate their proficiency.
Potential Pitfalls: Objections from students. Not a real-world environment. Separate but equal objections.