Visual programming and automatic evaluation of exercises: An experience with a STEM course

Leônidas De Oliveira Brandão, Yorah Bosse, Marco Aurélio Gerosa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Programming capabilities are important to the new professionals. Although several initiatives all over the world haves been proposed for teaching programming to people at all levels. Many undergraduate students still fail in the programming courses. Proposed strategies have included visual programming and automatic evaluation of exercises. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of knowledge about students' perceived difficulties in using these strategies in practice: that is, their challenges to learning how to program. In this paper, we report a study aimed at understanding these difficulties and strategies in a STEM course. We used an environment comprising a visual programming tool to introduce algorithms, iVProg with iAssign, and the virtual programming lab (VPL) to introduce programming in C, both with automatic assessment integrated to Moodle. We report quantitative and qualitative results and future directions. Teachers and tool designers can leverage these results to better support programming learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFIE 2016 - Frontiers in Education 2016
Subtitle of host publicationThe Crossroads of Engineering and Business
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509017904
StatePublished - Nov 28 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event46th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2016 - Erie, United States
Duration: Oct 12 2016Oct 15 2016

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference46th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Automatic evaluation
  • Difficulty
  • Learning
  • Novice
  • Programming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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