Which programming language should students learn first? A comparison of Java and python

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Programming is a fundamental ability for Computer Science majors. Most programming lectures use traditional languages, such as C, C++, or Java, as the first learning language for novices, which are effective for designing real applications and therefore are popular in industry. However, the complex syntax of these languages is challenging for novices, which becomes an obstacle to novices' learning. Python has simpler syntax and high-level data structures to enable succinct programs. The multiple paradigms of Python also provide learners opportunities to learn various features of programming languages. Therefore, Python gradually becomes a new option of the first language for learning. This study investigates the features of the first learning programming language by comparing Python with the popular learning language Java. A questionnaire study will be conducted on both instructors and students to understand how the features of languages affect students' learning from the aspects of program translation and execution (interpretation vs. Compilation), variable declaration (dynamic vs. Static), the syntax of control structures, and the object-oriented syntaxes. For each aspect of questionnaire, questions are designed to understand whether and how the language features in this aspect influence program comprehension (including the occurrence of misconceptions or errors, and cognitive load) and program implementation. The research results will give instructors suggestions for selecting suitable learning languages in their lectures and designing adaptive instructional strategies/materials based on the features of the selected language.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2015 International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages225-226
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9781479999675
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 16
Event2015 3rd International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015 - Taipei, Taiwan
Duration: 2015 Apr 92015 Apr 12

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2015 International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015

Other

Other2015 3rd International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015
CountryTaiwan
CityTaipei
Period15/4/915/4/12

Keywords

  • Comprehension
  • Debugging
  • Error Patterns
  • Mixed-method approach
  • Programming
  • Spoken-Tutorials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Engineering(all)
  • Education

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Which programming language should students learn first? A comparison of Java and python'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Lo, C. A., Lin, Y. T., & Wu, C. C. (2015). Which programming language should students learn first? A comparison of Java and python. In Proceedings - 2015 International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015 (pp. 225-226). [7126267] (Proceedings - 2015 International Conference on Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering, LaTiCE 2015). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/LaTiCE.2015.15