Use of the Alice visual environment in teaching and learning object-oriented programming
Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Research Conference on South African Institute of Computer Scientists and Information Technologists - SAICSIT '15
P a g e | ii Student Number: 3371-639-0 I declare that THE USE OF ALICE, A VISUAL ENVIRONMENT FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING OBJECT-ORIENTED PROGRAMMING is my own work, and that all the sources that I have used or quoted in the study have been indicated and acknowledged by means of complete references. ____________________ ____________________ Mrs Jeraline Dwarika Date P a g e | iii Abstract University students learning object-oriented programming (OOP) encounter many complexities. This study
... ok empirical research aimed at analysing learners' interactions with the Alice visual programming environment, which seeks to engage and motivate learners to grasp concepts of OOP, whilst creating animated movies and video games. A mixed-methods approach was employed, using questionnaire surveys and interviews to investigate learners' experiences with Alice and their understanding of OOP. Findings indicated that learners lacked problem-solving abilities; were unable to grasp programming concepts on an abstract level and spent insufficient time practicing programming exercises. Alice proved to be an effective tool in helping to address these challenges and in improving learners' grasp of OOP. Learners found Alice to have good usability. Furthermore, test and exam results revealed a statistically significant difference between performances of learners who had been taught Alice in comparison to similar learners who were not exposed to the Alice intervention. P a g e | iv Acknowledgements "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust I wish to express my gratitude to: To my inspirational supervisor, Professor M.R.(Ruth) de Villers, even if every flower in the world had a voice I couldn't send as many as it would take to say thanks enough for your patience, encouragement and meticulous attention to detail. I am truly grateful for your valuable guidance and commitment throughout this study. Most especially, thank you for believing in me and for helping me believe in my capabilities as a researcher. To my Mircha and Mentor, Suresh Dwarika, for your unconditional love and support. Thank you for always standing by me, for your patience and for dedicating your time to proof reading this dissertation. Time is love, and I could never have achieved this without you, my love. I love you.