A study of element fill-in-blank problems for c programming learning assistant system

Htoo Htoo Sandi Kyaw, Nobuo Funabiki, Shune Lae Aung, Nem Khan Dim, Wen Chung Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


—Nowadays, C programming is essential for university students to study various programming languages, algorithms, and computer architecture. Previously, we have developed Java programming learning assistant system (JPLAS) for studying Java programming. JPLAS provides several types of exercise problems to cover different study stages, including the element fill-in-blank problem (EFP). An EFP instance asks students to fill in the blank elements in the given source code. The correctness of the answer is marked through string matching. In this paper, we study the EFP for C programming learning assistant system (CPLAS), by extending our works for JPLAS. To automatically generate a feasible EFP instance, the graph-based blank element selection algorithm is newly designed and implemented for C programming. For evaluations, we generate 19 EFP instances using C source codes for basic grammar concepts, and fundamental data structures and algorithms, and assign them to 42 students in a Myanmar university. The solving results confirm the effectiveness of EFP in detecting the students who may have difficulty in studying C programming and the hard topics for them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Information and Education Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun


  • Algorithm
  • Element fill-in-blank problem
  • Graph
  • Index terms—C programming
  • Self-study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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