Morning or Evening? An Examination of Circadian Rhythms of CS1 Students

Albina Zavgorodniaia*, Raj Shrestha, Juho Leinonen, Arto Hellas, John Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

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

8 Citations (Scopus)


Circadian rhythms are the cycles of our internal clock that play a key role in governing when we sleep and when we are active. A related concept is chronotype, which is a person's natural tendency toward activity at certain times of day and typically governs when the individual is most alert and productive. In this work we investigate chronotypes in the setting of an Introductory Computer Programming (CS1) course. Using keystroke data collected from students we investigate the existence of chronotypes through unsupervised learning. The chronotypes we find align with those of typical populations reported in the literature and our results support correlations of certain chronotypes to academic achievement. We also find a lack of support for the still-popular stereotype of a computer programmer as a night owl. The analyses are conducted on data from two universities, one in the US and one in Europe, that use different teaching methods. In comparison of the two contexts, we look into programming assignment design and administration that may promote better programming practices among students in terms of procrastination and effort.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2021 IEEE/ACM 43rd International Conference on Software Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationJoint Track on Software Engineering Education and Training, ICSE-JSEET 2021
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-0138-8
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Software Engineering - Virtual, online, Virtual, Online, Spain
Duration: 25 May 202128 May 2021
Conference number: 43


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software Engineering
Abbreviated titleICSE
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


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