An Exploratory Analysis of Feedback Types Used in Online Coding Exercises

by   Natalie Kiesler, et al.

Online coding environments can help support computing students gain programming practice at their own pace. Especially informative feedback can be beneficial during such self-guided, independent study phases. This research aims at the identification of feedback types applied by CodingBat, Scratch and Blockly. Tutoring feedback as coined by Susanne Narciss along with the specification of subtypes by Keuning, Jeuring and Heeren constitute the theoretical basis. Accordingly, the five categories of elaborated feedback (knowledge about task requirements, knowledge about concepts, knowledge about mistakes, knowledge about how to proceed, and knowledge about meta-cognition) and their subtypes were utilized for the analysis of available feedback options. The study revealed difficulties in identifying clear-cut boundaries between feedback types, as the offered feedback usually integrates more than one type or subtype. Moreover, currently defined feedback types do not rigorously distinguish individualized and generic feedback. The lack of granularity is also evident in the absence of subtypes relating to the knowledge type of the task. The analysis thus has implications for the future design and investigation of applied tutoring feedback. It encourages future research on feedback types and their implementation in the context of programming exercises to define feedback types that match the demands of novice programmers.


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