Programming students need instant feedback!

Venables, A. and Haywood, L.

    This paper describes the work that has been undertaken to improve the quantity and quality of feedback given to students studying introductory Java programming. An online submission program (submit) was developed that specifically addresses the needs of beginning programming students by providing automatic and instant feedback to a student's programming efforts. Traditionally, this feedback was provided by staff in scheduled laboratory sessions, yet the amount of individual attention a particular student received was haphazard. In addition, the introduction of the submit program has reduced the marking and administrative load associated with providing timely feedback to students for participating staff. submit is more than just an on-line letter box for students to post their programs. submit also provides instant feedback which encourages students to improve their programs to meet all given requirements as well as to improve programming style. In order to assess the effectiveness of the submit program over four trials, student responses to questionnaires were collated and support some tentative conclusions as to the effectiveness of submit as a learning aid to students. Staff opinion from those involved in the day-to-day teaching of Java programming was also solicited. These responses have been very positive, especially from the staff that supervise laboratory work.
Cite as: Venables, A. and Haywood, L. (2003). Programming students need instant feedback!. In Proc. Fifth Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2003), Adelaide, Australia. CRPIT, 20. Greening, T. and Lister, R., Eds. ACS. 267-272.
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