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ERIC Number: EJ810212
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 20
ISSN: ISSN-0899-3408
Common Sense Computing (Episode 4): Debugging
Simon, Beth; Bouvier, Dennis; Chen, Tzu-Yi; Lewandowski, Gary; McCartney, Robert; Sanders, Kate
Computer Science Education, v18 n2 p117-133 Jun 2008
We report on responses to a series of four questions designed to identify pre-existing abilities related to debugging and troubleshooting experiences of novice students before they begin programming instruction. The focus of these questions include general troubleshooting, bug location, exploring unfamiliar environments, and describing students' real life troubleshooting experiences. We find that the common sense experience of students related to debugging is often at odds with the needs for debugging programs. Student troubleshooting experiences recognize real world non-determinism and rarely require undoing an attempted fix. Based on student answers, we shed light on some specific frustrations of instructors and make a set of recommendations for teaching, including addressing the difference between finding an error and fixing it, modeling the formation of multiple hypotheses, and encouraging students to apply domain knowledge. (Contains 2 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A