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Blackbox: A Large Scale Repository of Novice Programmers’ Activity

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

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 45th SIGCSE technical symposium on computer science education (SIGCSE 2014)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2014

King's Authors


Automatically observing and recording the programming be- haviour of novices is an established computing education research technique. However, prior studies have been con- ducted at a single institution on a small or medium scale, without the possibility of data re-use. Now, the widespread availability of always-on Internet access allows for data col- lection at a much larger, global scale. In this paper we re- port on the Blackbox project, begun in June 2013. Black- box is a perpetual data collection project that collects data from worldwide users of the BlueJ IDE – a programming environment designed for novice programmers. Over one hundred thousand users have already opted-in to Blackbox. The collected data is anonymous and is available to other researchers for use in their own studies, thus benefitting the larger research community. In this paper, we describe the data available via Blackbox, show some examples of analyses that can be performed using the collected data, and discuss some of the analysis challenges that lie ahead.

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