A web-based programming environment for novice programmers

Truong, Nghi Khue Dinh (2007) A web-based programming environment for novice programmers. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Learning to program is acknowledged to be difficult; programming is a complex intellectual activity and cannot be learnt without practice. Research has shown that first year IT students presently struggle with setting up compilers, learning how to use a programming editor and understanding abstract programming concepts. Large introductory class sizes pose a great challenge for instructors in providing timely, individualised feedback and guidance for students when they do their practice. This research investigates the problems and identifies solutions. An interactive and constructive web-based programming environment is designed to help beginning students learn to program in high-level, object-oriented programming languages such as Java and C#. The environment eliminates common starting hurdles for novice programmers and gives them the opportunity to successfully produce working programs at the earliest stage of their study. The environment allows students to undertake programming exercises anytime, anywhere, by "filling in the gaps" of a partial computer program presented in a web page, and enables them to receive guidance in getting their programs to compile and run. Feedback on quality and correctness is provided through a program analysis framework. Students learn by doing, receiving feedback and reflecting - all through the web. A key novel aspect of the environment is its capability in supporting small &quotfill in the gap" programming exercises. This type of exercise places a stronger emphasis on developing students' reading and code comprehension skills than the traditional approach of writing a complete program from scratch. It allows students to concentrate on critical dimensions of the problem to be solved and reduces the complexity of writing programs.

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ID Code: 16471
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Roe, Paul & Bancroft, Peter
Keywords: computer programming, flexible delivery, web, tutoring system, on-line learning, feedback, fill in the gap, static analysis, cyclomatic complexity, automated testing, dynamic analysis, black box, white box, feedback, XML, assessment
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Software Engineering & Data Communications
Department: Faculty of Information Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Nghi Khue Dinh Truong
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:04
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:48

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