Fostering program comprehension in novice programmers - learning activities and learning trajectories

Cruz Izu, Carsten Schulte, Ashish Aggarwal, Quintin Cutts, Rodrigo Duran, Mirela Gutica, Birte Heinemann, Eileen Kraemer, Violetta Lonati, Claudio Mirolo, Renske Weeda

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

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This working group asserts that Program Comprehension (Prog-Comp) plays a critical part in the process of writing programs. For example, this paper is written from a basic draft that was edited and revised until it clearly presented our idea. Similarly, a program is written incrementally, with each step tested, debugged and extended until the program achieves its goal. Novice programmers should develop program comprehension skills as they learn to code so that they are able both to read and reason about code created by others, and to reflect on their code when writing, debugging or extending it. To foster such competencies our group identified two main goals: (g1) to collect and define learning activities that explicitly address key components of program comprehension and (g2) to define tentative theoretical learning trajectories that will guide teachers as they select and sequence those learning activities in their CS0/CS1/CS2 or K-12 courses. The WG has completed the first goal and laid down a strong foundation towards the second goal as presented in this report. After a thorough literature review, a detailed description of the Block Model is provided, as this model has been used with a dual purpose, to classify and present an extensive list of ProgComp tasks, and to describe a possible learning trajectory for a complex task, covering different cells of the Block Model matrix. The latter is intended to help instructors to decompose complex tasks and identify which aspects of ProgComp are being fostered.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE-WGR 2019 - Proceedings of the Working Group Reports on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages27-52
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781450368957
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education - Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Jul 201917 Jul 2019
Conference number: 24

Publication series

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

Conference

ConferenceAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Abbreviated titleITiCSE
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityAberdeen
Period15/07/201917/07/2019

Keywords

  • CS1
  • K-12 computing
  • Learning trajectories
  • Novice programmers
  • Program comprehension

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Fostering program comprehension in novice programmers - learning activities and learning trajectories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this