The Coach: Overview

Thomas, Pete and Paine, Carina (2000). The Coach: Overview. Technical Report 2000/07; Department of Computing, The Open University.



This report describes a software teaching tool which we have named 'The Coach' whose aim is to provide additional help to students on the Open University's introductory computing course M206, Computing: An Object-Oriented Approach. The Coach provides additional help to students as they work through the practical programming activities of the course particularly in the area of error reporting and error diagnostics. The Coach uses data gathered by another software tool, 'The Recorder', which records the sequence of actions that a student performs when attempting the various tasks specified in the practical activities. A recording contains information about the actions that the student took prior to an error, the error message that the system provided, and the actions the student took following the error report. The Coach uses the recorded information to provide improved error reports, information about the context in which the error was generated (synthesised from the recording) and links to appropriate additional information.

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