Hi Tamara,

My apologies for such a long delayed reply. I would be very interested to
see your VL/HCC submission, thanks for the offer!

I'm familiar with Myers' work but hadn't seen that particular paper. My own
interest is less academic and more application focused - I just want to be
able to introduce my students to Python with a minimum of trauma, and
maximally helpful error messages. Although I do have an adjunct research
position I really don't have time for research at the moment, so I don't
have many opportunities to explore the field.

I'm surprised this isn't a solved problem. I do know that error messages
are hard, but with Python so often touted as a good beginners' language, it
amazes me that no-one has tried to clean up the interface with the
language, to lower the entry hurdles. I strongly believe that if you can
give students a safe and fun initial experience, then all kinds of things
become possible. If you scare them off at the first interaction, they'll
never actually find out whether they can be good at it or not. Of course, I
only have anecdotal evidence for this out of my own teaching experience. :)
If I were still an academic I'd be tempted to explore it properly!

Thanks again for your input,

Linda

On 6 April 2016 at 17:59, Tamara.Lopez <tamara.lo...@open.ac.uk> wrote:

> Dear Linda,
>
>
> You have been given so many references, I hate to (but will) add more on
> to the pile.
>
>
> You might have a look at Ko and Myers article on errors in programming
> systems.  It is not directly concerned with error messages, but it is
> interested in supporting use in programming environments.  I believe this
> piece was seminal for Ko, leading to the development of the Whyline.
>
>
> Ko, A. J., & Myers, B. A. (2005). A framework and methodology for studying
> the causes of software errors in programming systems. *Journal of Visual
> Languages & Computing*, *16*(1), 41–84.
>
> My own research is concerned with error handling by professional
> developers in different contexts.  I have been looking at how they realise
> there is an error, and what they do to recover from it.  It is most closely
> aligned to the paper by Traver (
> http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ahci/2010/602570/) noted by Richard
> O'Keefe, and to the comments given by Luke Church earlier in the thread.
>
>
> One of my studies examined activity at the desk, and I have some findings
> related to how developers respond to and leverage system responses.  I
> currently have a submission in to VL/HCC that I can pass along to you.  It
> is not your area, but I believe it may be relevant.
>
>
> Best wishes,
>
> Tamara
>
>
> On Compiler Error Messages: What They Say and What They Mean
> <http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ahci/2010/602570/>
> www.hindawi.com
> Advances in Human-Computer Interaction Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID
> 602570, 26 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/602570
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* ppig-discuss@googlegroups.com <ppig-discuss@googlegroups.com> on
> behalf of Thomas Green <thosgr...@gmail.com>
> *Sent:* 06 April 2016 09:20
> *To:* Linda McIver
> *Cc:* PPIG Discuss
> *Subject:* Re: [ppig-discuss] Re: Beginner friendly error messages
>
>
> Hi Linda, good to hear your voice.
>
> From way back,  see Ben du Boulay's paper "Fatal error in pass zero" on
> what not to say to novices : and Mark Eisenstadt co-authored a paper where
> they looked at every error report issued to a class of beginners and
> analysed every single one. That was in a very simple knowledge
> representation language called Solo. Although neither will be directly
> applicable, the way they reasoned about novices could be very helpful.
> Please report your eventual conclusions or at least a literature review to
> help fill the gap in knowledge!
>
> All the best in this
>
> Thomas
>
> until further notice:
> 80 Heworth Road  YO31 0AD
> 07947 002 581
> On 6 Apr 2016 05:51, "Linda McIver" <linda.mci...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Thanks Michael, this looks interesting. Unfortunately my solution must be
>> relatively platform agnostic, so anything reliant on windows is not an
>> option. I'll be interested to explore raptor though.
>>
>> On 6 April 2016 at 11:11, Michael Leverington <mich...@edtech-teched.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Linda;
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>   As Huw noted, it does depend on what you are trying to teach with the
>>> programming language.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>   Martin Carlisle at the US Air Force Academy put together an
>>> environment called RAPTOR (http://raptor.martincarlisle.com/) a few
>>> years ago. It requires Windows and .NET but it is a powerful and yet
>>> friendly programming environment. Most of the Air Force Academy students
>>> are not CS majors but they are all required to take a rigorous programming
>>> class, and RAPTOR was invented for this.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>   I have seen a respectable PAC-MAN program, music and all, run on this,
>>> and I myself use it for a friendly University-level introduction in
>>> parallel with foundational discrete structures activities (“Crossing the
>>> River with Dogs”). I would also note that I have taught High School, grades
>>> 9 – 12, and I think this would work fine for them. You can measure out how
>>> far you take them with it (although the hardest thing is holding them back
>>> once they get started).
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>   That might be a solution if “normal” languages – and their compilers
>>> and error messages – are not your friends :).
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>    Best,
>>>
>>>      Michael
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Michael Leverington, Lecturer
>>>
>>> Dept of Computer Science & Engineering
>>>
>>> University of Nevada, Reno
>>>
>>> www.cse.unr.edu/~michael - 775-784-1414
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> “There they go and I must hasten to catch up with them for I am their
>>> leader”
>>>
>>> Anonymous
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On 6 April 2016 at 00:18, Linda McIver <linda.mci...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> Hello PPIGers,
>>>
>>> I am trying to design a data science course for year 10 students that
>>> will be taught to, and in some cases *by* beginners. We'll be using Python
>>> both for its data science credentials and its user friendliness, but the
>>> error messages are a big barrier to success. Students hit one
>>> incomprehensible error message and run screaming in the opposite direction.
>>>
>>> I recall some research on error messages and their user friendliness,
>>> but I still can't find any interpreters with beginner friendly error
>>> messages, which surprises me.
>>>
>>> Am I missing something? Is there a treasure trove somewhere? If not, is
>>> there at least some solid research on which we could base the design of a
>>> beginner friendly Python interpreter?
>>>
>>> Any and all clues gratefully received.
>>>
>>> Linda
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>>
>>> Exploring Life, Parenting and Social Justice:
>>> http://lindamciver.wordpress.com/
>>>
>>> Computational Science Education: http://computeitsimple.wordpress.com/
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Dr Linda McIver
>>> Teacher & Freelance Writer
>>> --
>>> Buy Fair Trade - Change the world one coffee at a time
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>>
>> Exploring Life, Parenting and Social Justice:
>> http://lindamciver.wordpress.com/
>> Computational Science Education: http://computeitsimple.wordpress.com/
>>
>>
>> Dr Linda McIver
>> Teacher & Freelance Writer
>> --
>> Buy Fair Trade - Change the world one coffee at a time
>>
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-- 

Exploring Life, Parenting and Social Justice:
http://lindamciver.wordpress.com/
Computational Science Education: http://computeitsimple.wordpress.com/


Dr Linda McIver
Teacher & Freelance Writer
--
Buy Fair Trade - Change the world one coffee at a time

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