Nov 062012
 November 6, 2012  Posted by at 10:05 pm Not So Stupid Questions  Add comments

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

These questions are from my session at Öredev 2012: Stupid questions and generation n00b: top ten intriguing things you should do

All the posts related to my session can be found here: Öredev related

To continue on the last question, Stupid Question 75 (Öredev conference special): Are all pairs good in RE to knowledge level in pair programming?, are there any guidelines for succeeding with novice pairs?

Yes there are, North Carolina State University did a study and then put together eleven guidelines for successful pair-programming for junior developers (in the classroom). There has been other studies and guidelines, but this is the newest and the most detailed one out of the ones I’ve read.

The guidelines can be grouped like this:

Are there any guidelines for junior developer pair-programming?

Are there any guidelines for junior developer pair-programming?

Basically, it is important that the pairs are carefully put together, that there is supervision and evaluation, that ergonomics is considered and that attendance is strict. Rotation of the pairs, solo as well as pair work and encouraging communication are also important key factors for increasing the likelihood of successful pairs.

Here are all the guidlines:
Guideline 1. Students need training in pair programming in a supervised setting to experience the mechanics of successful pairing.

Guideline 2. Teaching staff must actively engage in the management of pair interactions.

Guideline 3. Strict attendance and tardy policies are necessary to protect students from a non-participatory partner.

Guideline 4. When students are pair programming outside of a closed laboratory or classroom setting, instructors should provide a systematic mechanism for obtaining students’ feedback about their partners and must act upon the feedback when indications are a student is not being an equal participant.

Guideline 5. In each course, students should be evaluated on a balance of individual and collaborative work.

Guideline 6. When assigning pairs, instructors should attempt to maximize the chances students will work well together.

Guideline 7. Students should have different partners throughout the semester.

Guideline 8. Students must understand that problems with their partner must be surfaced immediately to give the instructor a chance to correct the situation.

Guideline 9. Pairs should be able to comfortably sit next to each other as they work, and both should have easy access to the monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

Guideline 10. The programmers in a pair should be working toward a common goal.

Guideline 11. Teaching staff should encourage pairs to find answers on their own rather than providing them with answers.

You can read the study and the guidelines here: Eleven Guidelines for Implementing Pair Programming in the Classroom, North Carolina State University, Department of Computer Science

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