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Open AccessArticle

Fostering Programming Practice through Games

1
Center for Research in Advanced Computing Systems (CRACS)–Institute for Systems and Computer (INESC) Porto LA, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
2
Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3
Unidade de Investigação em Media Artes e Design (uniMAD)–Escola Superior de Media Artes e Design (ESMAD), Polytechnic of Porto, 4480-876 Vila do Conde, Portugal
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in Proceedings of the First International Computer Programming Education Conference (ICPEC 2020), Porto, Portugal, 23–24 April 2020
Information 2020, 11(11), 498; https://doi.org/10.3390/info11110498
Received: 29 September 2020 / Revised: 19 October 2020 / Accepted: 22 October 2020 / Published: 24 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computer Programming Education)
Loss of motivation is one of the most prominent concerns in programming education as it negatively impacts time dedicated to practice, which is crucial for novice programmers. Of the distinct techniques introduced in the literature to engage students, gamification, is likely the most widely explored and fruitful. Game elements that intrinsically motivate students, such as graphical feedback and game-thinking, reveal more reliable long-term positive effects, but those involve significant development effort. This paper proposes a game-based assessment environment for programming challenges, built on top of a specialized framework, in which students develop a program to control the player, henceforth called Software Agent (SA). During the coding phase, students can resort to the graphical feedback demonstrating how the game unfolds to improve their programs and complete the proposed tasks. This environment also promotes competition through competitive evaluation and tournaments among SAs, optionally organized at the end by the teacher. Moreover, the validation of the effectiveness of Asura in increasing undergraduate students’ motivation and, consequently, the practice of programming is reported. View Full-Text
Keywords: gamification; automatic assessment; programming learning; games; graphical feedback; tournament gamification; automatic assessment; programming learning; games; graphical feedback; tournament
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MDPI and ACS Style

Paiva, J.C.; Leal, J.P.; Queirós, R. Fostering Programming Practice through Games. Information 2020, 11, 498.

AMA Style

Paiva JC, Leal JP, Queirós R. Fostering Programming Practice through Games. Information. 2020; 11(11):498.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Paiva, José C.; Leal, José P.; Queirós, Ricardo. 2020. "Fostering Programming Practice through Games" Information 11, no. 11: 498.

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