Event driven languages for novice programmers

Shackleton, Peter (1998) Event driven languages for novice programmers. Research Master thesis, Victoria University of Technology.

Abstract

Most mature scientific disciplines have a sound and widely accepted foundation of basic concepts. This is not yet the case for the discipline of Information Systems. It is acknowledged that the majority of students will work in organisational settings where they will specify, develop, build, implement or manage information systems. Although there is consensus on the need for information systems education, the structure and content of courses of this type in each of Victoria's eight universities varies considerably. Computer programming, in different formats, is a part of each of these courses although the content and scope varies between universities. This thesis investigates the use of event driven languages by novice programmers in information system courses. To establish the context for the study an extended literature analysis examines how novice programmers acquire programming skills. The current use of programming languages and program design methodologies in introductory programming subjects is also examined. The initial research for the thesis involves an investigation of the use of event driven languages at three Australian universities. Extended interviews identify the reasons why the event driven paradigm was adopted or rejected in these universities, and the advantages and disadvantages of its use in an introductory subject at one university. Changes to the method of teaching, and the aims and objectives of the introductory subject, together with the impact on the student learning from the use of object-based, visual programming environments is discussed. A seven step program design methodology is developed for the teaching of event-driven languages to novice programmers. Using a case study approach, qualitative data is gathered on the use of the design methodology by students at an Australian university. Evaluation of the methodology indicates that students are heavily reliant upon the screen layout but are confused about events and the placement of code. It is found that students often fail to establish a clear mental model that depicts the operation of event driven systems. Reasons for this confusion and the strategies that can be developed to help novices gain a better understanding of event driven systems is discussed.

Additional Information

Master of Business

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/17895
Subjects Current > FOR Classification > 0803 Computer Software
Current > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Keywords computer programming, beginners, programming languages, education, training, Australia
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