The Learning and Productivity Benefits to Student Programmers from Real-World Development EnvironmentsReport as inadecuate

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Information Systems Education Journal, v10 n5 p61-81 Oct 2012

Existing research and practice in software development environments shows no clear consensus on the most appropriate development tools to use; these may range from simple text editors through teaching-oriented examples to full commercial integrated development environments (IDEs). This study addresses this gap by examining student perceptions of two development environments at opposite ends of the complexity spectrum. The results, gathered over several years using students at a range of experience levels, suggest that complex commercial IDEs are appropriate for programming education, even for entry-level students. Indeed, they offer a range of features that may improve the understanding and productivity of students. However, given the greater simplicity of simple text editors and potential for students to become overly dependent upon the support mechanisms provided by IDEs, teaching IDEs in combination with simple text editors appears to offer an ideal combination to maximize learning opportunities and student employability.

Descriptors: Productivity, Programming, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Longitudinal Studies, Units of Study, Course Objectives, Hypothesis Testing, Demography, Preferences, Educational Benefits, Student Educational Objectives, College Students

Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals. Box 488, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480. e-mail: publisher[at]; Web site:

Author: Debuse, Justin C. W.; Lawley, Meredith


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