PPIG 2001 - 13th Annual Workshop
The Coach - Supporting students in the area of error reports
Carina Paine
Abstract: AESOP, An Electronic Student Observatory Project, is a collection of computer-based data collection and analysis tools for instruction and research in Computer Science education. AESOP is based on a system for recording, replaying and analysing user actions in LearningWorks, a Smalltalk programming environment for distance education students.
Over the past 2 years the AESOP Recorder has been used to gather information from students studying object-oriented programming to investigate how students learn to program (in Smalltalk) and to develop software tools to help the teaching and learning process.
The existence of this collection of recordings provides a great deal of information about the kinds of errors that students make and how students go about solving problems for themselves. The recordings provide a substantial wealth of data that can be exploited by a suitable software tool. This paper introduces the AESOP Coach - a software tool which utilises this information to provide additional help to students, particularly in the area of error reporting and error diagnostics.
Field trials of the Coach with students are currently underway to evaluate both the usability and usefulness of the tool and this paper discusses the nature of the trials and emergent issues.