Taking advantage of Alice to teach programming concepts
Learning the fundamentals of programming languages has always been a difficult task for students. It is equally challenging for lecturers to teach these concepts. A number of methods have been deployed by teachers to teach these concepts. This article analyses the result of a class test to identify fundamental programming concepts that students have difficulty in understanding. On the basis of this result, an open educational resource, 'Alice', was introduced in the class along with C++ in the following semester. This article also provides a sample lecture that was designed using Alice and that corresponded to the objectives of the subject. The objectives of the subject were taken into consideration while designing the lectures, labs and assignment tasks using Alice. Students enrolled in Applied Programming in Summer 2010 were tested on the concepts after the introduction to Alice, and the results were compared with those of Summer 2009, where the traditional style of teaching programming was followed. Analysis of the results shows that Alice is very effective for teaching students programming concepts.