The Development Use and Evaluation of a Program Design Tool in the Learning and Teaching of Software Development

Stuart Garner
InSITE 2006  •  Volume 6  •  2006
The learning of software development is difficult for many students. Given a problem statement, students have to be able to: design a solution to the problem; implement a solution in a programming language; and test the solution. Often students miss out the design step and start writing programming code immediately. And yet instructors aim to encourage their students to develop a design in, for example, pseudocode. This helps students think carefully about their program designs without getting bogged down in the intricacies of a programming language. However students do not like writing pseudocode. Reasons for this include: it is another language to learn; they do not think that they are actually programming; they cannot test their designs as the designs are not executable; there is not a rigid syntax and so students are unsure whether their pseudocode meets an instructor's expectations. This paper concerns the development of a simple tool that helps students create pseudocode. The tool has been used and evaluated in an introductory programming unit of study. The results suggest that the tool was easy for students to use and that it helped support their learning.
learning, programming, design, pseudocode, tools.
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