PPIG 2022 - 33rd Annual Workshop
Tutorials Embedded in an IDE: A Feasible Way for CS Students to Learn Debugging? – A Study Design
Olli Kiljunen
Abstract: Although the importance of teaching novice programmers to debug computer programs is well-noted (e.g. McCauley et al., 2008; Li, Chan, Denny, Luxton-Reilly, & Tempero, 2019), finding optimal ways to help students to learn debugging is still an ongoing quest. Nevertheless, a common understanding among both the computing education researchers and practitioners seems to be that debugging, possibly due to its complex and often complicated nature, is a difficult subject for students in their early phases of programming education.
The goal of my PhD thesis, is to gain new insight into how debugging can be learnt and develop novel ways to teach CS students to debug. As a part of that, in this doctoral consortium abstract, I present and outline my plans for an evaluative study that tries to answer the question whether a certain learning tool and method – designed and developed by me in collaboration with our research group – would carry potential for becoming a both efficient and practical way to teach debugging. The learning method I have been developing is based on interactive software tutorials that students take using an educational tool embedded in a programming environment, IDE. In my planned study, I test this learning method with novice CS students to see how they interact with the tool, whether they feel satisfied when learning with it, which features of it they found either useful or useless, and what kind of debugging skills or knowledge can be taught with it. The results are hoped to provide better understanding on how teaching of debugging can be improved and help me in the further development of this method of learning.