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An Integrated Approach to Instruction in Debugging Computer Programs

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Title: An Integrated Approach to Instruction in Debugging Computer Programs
Author(s): Chmiel, Ryan
Contributor(s): Loui, Michael C.
Subject(s): debugging trouble-shooting teaching computer programming
Abstract: This study demonstrates that formal training in debugging helps students develop skills in diagnosing and removing defects from computer programs. To enhance debugging skills in an assembly language course, students completed debugging exercises, debugging logs, development logs, reflective memos, and collaborative assignments. The debugging exercises were optional, but the other activities were mandatory. Students who completed the debugging exercises spent 37% of their time on debugging programming assignments, whereas students who did not complete the debugging exercises spent 47% of their time debugging. Students also provided qualitative data for each activity, and they responded to summative evaluation surveys. Students agreed that formal debugging training enhanced their debugging skills. This paper also proposes a model of debugging abilities and habits based on students' comments in their debugging logs, development logs, reflective memos, and evaluation surveys. Students and instructors can use the model to diagnose students' current debugging skills and take actions to enhance their skills.
Issue Date: 2004
Genre: Working / Discussion Paper
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/12999
Publication Status: unpublished
Peer Reviewed: not peer reviewed
Sponsor: National Science Foundation under Grant SES-0138309; College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Date Available in IDEALS: 2009-07-02
 

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