Code Visualising Tool

Computer Programming is generally taught using the “formal” method (Turkle and Papert 1990), often the preferred programming style for men. Thus, women, who tend to prefer a more concrete and creative approach to programming, are discouraged from continuing with computer programming and focus on subjects in which they can use intellectual styles that they are most comfortable with. This increases the gender gap in the computer programming field.

The code visualising tool that I am currently developing, using JavaScript and SVG, analyses code entered by the student and shows graphically in real-time the flow of the code, which not only helps a student design and understand algorithms but also greatly helps visual learners in understanding how computer code works.

The application can also be used across all disciplines as it allows the lecturer to capture any process as a set of simple instructions or flow of events and immediately generate a process diagram in real-time. This can be used to capture any process whether it be scientific, political, or indeed anything that has a flow and decisions to achieve a goal. The tool, was tested by the UoW programming teaching team and colleagues from the jQuery project. Students will be offered to test the tool online to provide feedback that will drive refinements and improvements.

This tool will be embedded into the teaching and learning of level 4 computing students and also made widely available as an open source project.

It is anticipated that students will gain a better understanding of programming and more concrete learners will engage with computer programming modules.