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Student opinions of Alice in CS1

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1 Author(s)
Cliburn, D.C. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of the Pacific, Stockton, CA

Alice is a novel programming environment for building 3D virtual worlds. The graphical programming interface of Alice allows beginning programmers to learn about concepts such as object-oriented design and recursion without the need to struggle with syntax errors. This paper discusses the opinions of Alice from 84 students who took an introductory programming course (CS1) that covered both Alice and Java in the same term. Fifty students (59.5%) responded on the survey that the prior experience with Alice helped them to learn Java later in the term. Fifty-six students (66.7%) recommended continued use of Alice in the course although many suggested reducing the amount of time spent on Alice. While these numbers could be interpreted as a positive result, they have actually discouraged our department from continuing to use Alice in CS1. The number of students who were not sure that Alice was helping with their understanding of Java later in the term was simply too great to justify continued coverage of Alice in the course.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 2008. FIE 2008. 38th Annual

Date of Conference:

22-25 Oct. 2008