Authors: James N. Carmichael, Mohammed N. A. Abdelhakim, Sayed Sayeed Ahmad
This report discusses the implementation of a Java application, known as CodeHelper, that is designed to provide plain English compile-time error messages more readily understood by student programmers who may not easily comprehend the technical jargon-filled error messages typically generated by Java compilers. In addition to facilitating comprehension, the CodeHelper application utilizes a video game approach to visualize the outcome of some pre-defined programming task being attempted. During preliminary field testing with a group of Java programming students and their instructor, it appeared that using the CodeHelper enabled the students to better grasp and apply concepts related to initializing and populating Java arrays as well as the use of appropriate debugging techniques to eliminate exception states related to array implementation.
Keywords: Java programming; exception handling; game theory; teaching