Programming Learners’ Perceptions of Interactive Computer Tutors and Human Teachers

Ruiqi Shen, Donghee Yvette Wohn, Michael J. Lee


People often learn programming in face-to-face courses or online tutorials. Interactive computer tutors---systems that provide learning content interactively---are becoming more common in online tools such as those teaching computer programming. Studies have shown that teachers, interactive computer tutors, and the combination of both are efficient and effective in teaching programming. However, there is limited understanding of the comparative perspectives of learners learning from these two different sources. We conducted an exploratory study using semi-structured interviews and recruited 20 participants with programming experience from both teachers and interactive computer tutors. Speaking with our participants, we surfaced factors that learners like and dislike from the two learning resources and discussed the strengths and weaknesses between the two. Based on our findings, we discuss implications for designs that programming educators and interactive computer tutor developers can use to improve their teaching effectiveness.


Tutors; interactive computing tutors; student perspectives; computing education; human teachers

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Copyright (c) 2020 Ruiqi Shen, Donghee Yvette Wohn, Michael J. Lee

International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (iJET) – eISSN: 1863-0383
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