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A fill-in-blank problem workbook for Java programming learning assistant system

Ta Na (Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan)
Nobuo Funabiki (Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan)
Khin Khin Zaw (Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan)
Nobuya Ishihara (Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan)
Shinpei Matsumoto (Department of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan)
Wen-Chung Kao (National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan)

International Journal of Web Information Systems

ISSN: 1744-0084

Article publication date: 19 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

To advance Java programming educations, the authors have developed a Java Programming Learning Assistant System (JPLAS) as a web application system. JPLAS provides fill-in-blank problems for novices to study the grammar and basic programming skills through code reading.

Design/methodology/approach

To select the blank elements with grammatically correct and unique answers from a given Java code, the authors have proposed the graph-based blank element selection algorithm. Then, the code for this problem should be highly readable to encourage novice students to study it. Because code readability can be improved by proper names for identifiers, the authors have also proposed the naming rule testing algorithm to identify codes with correct names.

Findings

In this paper, the authors present a fill-in-blank problem workbook by collecting suitable Java codes from textbooks and Web sites and applying these algorithms with several extensions. The workbook consists of 16 categories with a considerable number of problems that follow the conventional learning order of Java programming.

Originality/value

The proper set of ready-made fill-in-blank problems is effective in enhancing the usability of JPLAS both for teachers and students. For the preliminary evaluation, the authors assign a few problems to students. In coming semesters, the authors will use this workbook in the course to verify the adequacy of the proposal for novices.

Keywords

Citation

Na, T., Funabiki, N., Zaw, K.K., Ishihara, N., Matsumoto, S. and Kao, W.-C. (2017), "A fill-in-blank problem workbook for Java programming learning assistant system", International Journal of Web Information Systems, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 140-154. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWIS-12-2016-0076

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited