Gender differences in introductory programming: Comparing moocs and local courses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


We analyzed three introductory programming MOOCs and four introductory programming courses offered locally in a Finnish university. The course has been offered in all instances with roughly the same content, barring adjustments based on course feedback. We sought to understand how gender interacts with participating in the course in both instances. In particular, we looked at the differences in persistence, confidence, interest in CS, prior experience, and performance between men and women. Overall, we found that men have more prior experience in both instances and have a higher interest in a CS degree. Furthermore, men perform slightly better on the MOOC while there was no significant difference in performance when it came to gender in the local instance. Aligned with prior research, we found a considerable gap in confidence between male and female students in both instances. At the same time, while women are still underrepresented in CS, we observe a considerable increase in women attending the MOOC. Unfortunately, women are also more likely to drop out early on in the MOOC than men.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2020 - Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367936
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education - Portland, United States
Duration: 11 Mar 202014 Mar 2020
Conference number: 51

Publication series

NameAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education, ITiCSE
ISSN (Print)1942-647X


ConferenceACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleSIGSE
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Confidence
  • Cs1
  • Gender
  • Interest
  • Introductory programming
  • Mooc
  • Performance
  • Persistence
  • Selfefficacy


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