Towards a debugging tutor for object-oriented environments

du Boulay, Benedict, Romero, Pablo, Cox, Richard and Lutz, Rudi (2003) Towards a debugging tutor for object-oriented environments. In: Aleven, Vincent, Hoppe, Ulrich, Kay, Judy, Mizoguchi, Riichiro, Pain, Helen, Verdejo, Felisa and Yacef, Kalina (eds.) Supplementary Proceedings of Artificial Intelligence in Education Conference (AIED2003), Sydney, Australia. University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, pp. 399-407. ISBN 9781864875720

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Programming has provided a rich domain for Artificial Intelligence in Education and many systems have been developed to advise students about the bugs in their programs, either during program development or post-hoc. Surprisingly few systems have been developed specifically to teach debugging. Learning environment builders have assumed that either the student will be taught these elsewhere or thatthey will be learnt piecemeal without explicit advice.This paper reports on two experiments on Java debugging strategy by novice programmers and discusses their implications for the design of a debugging tutor for Java that pays particular attention to how students use the variety of program representations available. The experimental results are in agreement with research in the area that suggests that good debugging performance is associated with a balanced use ofthe available representations and a sophisticated use of the debugging step facility which enables programmers to detect and obtain information from critical momentsin the execution of the program. A balanced use of the available representations seemsto be fostered by providing representations with a higher degree of dynamic linkingas well as by explicit instruction about the representation formalism employed in the program visualisations.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Depositing User: Ben duBoulay
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2006
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2019 11:26
Google Scholar:4 Citations

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