Generic Code-Memory Diagram Animation Authoring Tool: Impact on Learning and Teaching Object-Oriented Programming

M. Dixon (UK)


Animation, Teaching Object-oriented Computer Programming.


Object-oriented programming (OOP) is becoming the norm within software development, but is associated with a steeper learning curve than the conventional structured approach. Recent work has developed code-memory diagram animations for enhancing the learning and teaching of structured programming concepts (such as variables, procedures, and functions). This was evaluated by the developer. The latest phase of this work sought to extend this success to colleagues and OOP concepts (such as object creation). Three computing lecturers used the animation software over an academic year (2 teaching OOP modules). Two lectures were observed (both involving OOP concepts) and at the end of the year all 3 lecturers were interviewed about their experiences of using the software. There was variation in the lecturers’ adoption of the software (one lecturer used a single animation, while the others used 8 and 18 animations). The adoption was influenced by workload, the ability to integrate the animations into existing teaching material, the ability to re-use existing animations, and student ability. The animation software had a profound impact on one of the lecturers OOP teaching, enhancing student understanding to the degree that increased coursework grades were achieved without the previously available partial solution, and with less lecturer support.

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