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Teaching the Culture of Quality from the Ground Up: Novice-tailored Quality Improvement for Scratch Programmers

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Software Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Division

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Paper Authors


Eli Tilevich Virginia Tech

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Eli Tilevich is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Computer Science and the College of Engineering
Faculty Fellow at Virginia Tech. Tilevich's research interests lie on the Systems end of Software
Engineering, with a particular emphasis on distributed systems, mobile/IoT applications, middleware,
software energy efficiency, software security, automated program transformation, music informatics,
and CS education. He has published over 100 refereed research papers on these subjects. His research
awards include a Microsoft Research Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Award and an IBM
Faculty Award. Tilevich has earned a B.A. summa cum laude in Computer Science/Math from Pace
University, an M.S. in Information Systems from NYU, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia
Tech. At Virginia Tech, Tilevich leads the Software Innovations lab. The lab's research projects have been
supported by major US federal funding agencies (i.e., NSF, ONR, AFOSR) and private industry. Tilevich is
also a professionally trained classical clarinetist, with experience in orchestral, chamber, and solo

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Simin Hall Virginia Tech

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Dr. Simin Hall is a research consultant. Her projects include collaborating with Dr. Eli Tilevich in the Computer Science Department at Virginia Tech (VT) on a National Science Foundation IUSE funded project to improve quality in Block Based programming. Previously, she was a Research Assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) at VT. This year she is serving as an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow. Her applied research in education is in cognitive functioning using online learning technologies. She maintains research and publishing tracks in nascent interdisciplinary trust concepts, eLearning, and innovative teaching, learning in fields of statistics and research methods, engineering, medical fields, and assessment methods.

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Peeratham Techapalokul Virginia Tech

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Peeratham Techapalokul is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.
His research interests lie on visual programming languages and computer science education.

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As quality problems plague the modern society's software infrastructure, a fundamental learning objective of computing education has become developing students' attitudes, knowledge, and practices centered around software quality. Teaching software quality and its disciplined practices has thus far been limited to more advanced courses, due to the prevailing assumptions about the introductory learner's unpreparedness for the topic and potential negative impacts on learner motivation. In this paper, we present empirical evidence that starkly contradicts the established conventional belief. Specifically, by exploring how novice programmers learn to refactor code duplication with and without automated tools, we found strong evidence that novices grasp the importance of code quality and its improvement. This empirical evidence motivated us, in retrospect, to closely examine the design of our online interactive tutorial, a platform that drove our experimental user study. We identify and discuss the tutorial's key design principles and affirm their efficacy based on the observed learning experiences. The obtained insights can inform curricular interventions that introduce introductory students to code quality and its disciplined improvement practices.

Tilevich, E., & Hall, S., & Techapalokul, P. (2020, June), Teaching the Culture of Quality from the Ground Up: Novice-tailored Quality Improvement for Scratch Programmers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35283

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