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Towards a debugging tutor for object-oriented environments

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posted on 2023-06-07, 13:22 authored by Benedict du Boulay, Pablo Romero, Richard Cox, Rudi Lutz
Programming has provided a rich domain for Artificial Intelligence in Education and many systems have been developed to advise students about the bugs in their programs, either during program development or post-hoc. Surprisingly few systems have been developed specifically to teach debugging. Learning environment builders have assumed that either the student will be taught these elsewhere or thatthey will be learnt piecemeal without explicit advice.This paper reports on two experiments on Java debugging strategy by novice programmers and discusses their implications for the design of a debugging tutor for Java that pays particular attention to how students use the variety of program representations available. The experimental results are in agreement with research in the area that suggests that good debugging performance is associated with a balanced use ofthe available representations and a sophisticated use of the debugging step facility which enables programmers to detect and obtain information from critical momentsin the execution of the program. A balanced use of the available representations seemsto be fostered by providing representations with a higher degree of dynamic linkingas well as by explicit instruction about the representation formalism employed in the program visualisations.


Publication status

  • Published


University of Sydney

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Book title

Supplementary Proceedings of Artificial Intelligence in Education Conference (AIED2003), Sydney, Australia

Place of publication

Sydney, Australia



Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes


Ulrich Hoppe, Helen Pain, Vincent Aleven, Riichiro Mizoguchi, Kalina Yacef, Judy Kay, Felisa Verdejo

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