Real-World Experimentation Comparing Time-Sharing and Batch Processing in Teaching Computer Science.
A summary of a large-scale experiment conducted by the Air Force Academy to compare time-sharing and batch-processing systems in teaching introductory computer science to 415 cadets. Focus was on "real-world" comparison of student effectiveness with both systems, using the same computer (Burroughs B-5500) and the same programming language (ALGOL). Twelve standardized class problems were used; performance measures included man-hours and elapsed time to solve problems, computer runs, problem grades, pretest and posttest student attitudes, etc. Experimental procedures were formalized by pilot testing 60 cadets prior to the main experiment. Results indicated advantages and disadvantages for both modes. Batch was more economical on computer runs; elapsed time to complete problems was the same for both modes. Batch was easier for beginners working on well-defined problems, time-sharing for more skilled users working on open-ended problems. However, cadets preferred time-sharing to batch processing, and learning-by-doing to class instruction. 25 pp. Ref.