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Byckling P., Sajaniemi J. (2006)
Roles of Variables and Programming Skills Improvement
Proceedings of the 37th SIGCSE Tehnical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2006), Houston, USA, March 2006, Association for Computing Machinery, 413-417.
Abstract: Roles of variables capture tacit expert knowledge in a form that can be taught in introductory programming courses. A role describes some stereotypic use of variables, and only ten roles are needed to cover 99 % of all variables in novice-level programs. This paper presents the results from a protocol analysis of a program creation task in an experiment where roles were introduced to novices learning Pascal programming. Students were divided into three groups that were instructed differently: in the traditional way with no treatment of roles in lectures or program animation; using roles in lectures but not in animation; and using a role-based program animator in addition to using roles in lectures. The results suggest that the introduction of roles provides novices a new conceptual framework for better mental processing of program information and that the use of role-based program animation increases novicest ability to apply data-related programming plans in program construction.
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Last updated: March 10, 2006