Perceptions of computer programming students on interactive environments for teaching object-oriented concepts using Java
The skill of programming necessitates knowing programming tools, problem solving and effective techniques of program design and implementation. Most students are incapable of fully understanding and utilising the feature set of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs). The feature set of certain IDEs comes with a lot of functionalities and students have to spend a lot of their time studying the features of the IDE without paying much attention to the syntax and semantics of the programming language. The main objective of this study was to examine the perceptions of students on interactive environments for teaching Object-Oriented concepts using the Java programming language in two integrated development environments. This was done by adopting the ISO 9126 model to select generic external system quality characteristics and sub-characteristics that might influence student evaluation of an IDE. The proposed model was applied on NetBeans and JCreator LE 5.0 as IDEs for teaching Java programming using OOP concepts. The study adopted a mixed method research approach using interviews and questionnaires. A single-case study was used for data collection and analysis. The approaches collected data from two groups of students using either NetBeans or JCreator and who were learning OOP concepts. The study further looked at the students’ class tests and exam results in an effort to have an objective overview of how students performed. These groups of students were at two different campuses of the selected University. Each group had already been exposed to the Java syntax. The result from this study was general guidelines to establish an interactive OOP development environment for teaching and learning of Java programming that enhances OOP comprehension. This research study involved human subjects. It was, therefore, a requirement to seek ethics approval. Additionally, the objects involved were students of a selected University and as such a consent letter was sought from the University.
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