Exploring Design Choices to Support Novices' Example Use During Creative Open-Ended Programming


Open-ended programming engages students by connecting computing with their real-world experience and personal interest. However, such open-ended programming tasks can be challenging, as they require students to implement features that they may be unfamiliar with. Code examples help students to generate ideas and implement program features, but students also encounter many learning barriers when using them. We explore how to design code examples to support novices’ effective example use by presenting our experience of building and deploying Example Helper, a system that supports students with a gallery of code examples during open-ended programming. We deployed Example Helper in an undergraduate CS0 classroom to investigate students’ example usage experience, finding that students used different strategies to browse, understand, experiment with, and integrate code examples, and that students who make more sophisticated plans also used more examples in their projects.

Proceedings of the ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education