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Forming Groups for Collaborative Learning in Introductory Computer Programming Courses Based on Students' Programming Styles: An Empirical Study

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3 Author(s)
de Faria, E.S.J. ; Inst. de Informatica, Pontificia Univ. Catolica de Minas Gerais, Arcos ; Adan-Coello, J.M. ; Yamanaka, Keiji

This paper describes and evaluates an approach for constructing groups for collaborative learning of computer programming. Groups are formed based on students' programming styles. The style of a program is characterized by simple well known metrics, including length of identifiers, size and number of modules (functions/procedures), and numbers of indented, commented and blank lines. A tool was implemented to automatically assess the style of programs submitted by students. For evaluating the tool and approach used to construct groups, some experiments were conducted involving information systems students enrolled in a course on algorithms and data structures. The experiments showed that collaborative learning was very effective for improving the programming style of students, particularly for students that worked in heterogeneous groups (formed by students with different levels of knowledge of programming style)

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 36th Annual

Date of Conference:

27-31 Oct. 2006

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