Step Tutor: Supporting Students through Step-by-Step Example-Based Feedback


Students often get stuck when programming independently, and need help to progress. Existing, automated feedback can help students progress, but it is unclear whether it ultimately leads to learning. We present Step Tutor, which helps struggling students during programming by presenting them with relevant, step-by-step examples. The goal of Step Tutor is to help students progress, and engage them in comparison, reflection, and learning. When a student requests help, Step Tutor adaptively selects an example to demonstrate the next meaningful step in the solution. It engages the student in comparing before'' and after’’ code snapshots, and their corresponding visual output, and guides them to reflect on the changes. Step Tutor is a novel form of help that combines effective aspects of existing support features, such as hints and Worked Examples, to help students both progress and learn. To understand how students use Step Tutor, we asked nine undergraduate students to complete two programming tasks, with its help, and interviewed them about their experience. We present our qualitative analysis of students’ experience, which shows us why and how they seek help from Step Tutor, and Step Tutor’s affordances. These initial results suggest that students perceived that Step Tutor accomplished its goals of helping them to progress and learn.

Proceedings of the International Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education(27.6% acceptance rate; 72/261 full papers.)