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Working Groups

There are two working groups proposed for CompEd 2023:

  1. Teaching students to use compiler error messages
  2. Where is the data? Finding and reusing datasets in computing education

Please use the following form to express your interest in either one of the working groups:

CompEd Working Group Application 2023

Application is open until August 21, 2023. In case you experience any difficulty with Google or the form, you may
contact the working group leaders directly via e-mail.

Working Group 1: Teaching students to use compiler error messages


  • Dennis J Bouvier, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, USA (
  • Ellie Lovellette, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA
  • Eddie Antonio Santos, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  • Brett A. Becker, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


Research shows many students struggle to use compiler error and warning messages effectively. Instead of using compiler messages, some students have negative emotional reactions to seeing ‘angry red messages’. Not utilizing compiler messages effectively, or at all, increases the difficulty of learning to program.
As compiler messages can vary by programming language development environment, lessons on reading compiler messages are not typically included in mainstream educational materials. We believe students can be taught to use error messages more effectively, which could make learning to program easier.
The goal of this working group is to develop educational materials to teach students to use compiler messages, and evaluate the use of these materials. The leaders of this WG have done extensive research on novice programmers’ use of compiler error messages. Additionally, the leaders have developed compiler message reading lessons.
A diverse WG team will be sought to refine the lessons, and to address the differences in compilers, development environments, and programming languages. Initially, WG members will collaborate on the design and development of educational material for teaching compiler message reading appropriate for their course(s). WG members will then use the developed lesson(s) in their course(s) and report on their experiences. Where possible, the efficacy of the lesson will be evaluated via empirical experiments with students. Ultimately, the goal of the WG is to develop tested educational materials useful for novice programmers learning to use compiler messages effectively.

Working Group 2: Where is the data? Finding and reusing datasets in computing education


  • Natalie Kiesler, DIPF Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education, Germany (
  • John Impagliazzo, Hofstra University, United States


Computing education research aims to investigate teaching and learning processes to foster and enhance learning in the field. Such analysis usually relies on data to test hypotheses, build models, or improve systems. However, despite the increasing availability of data, it remains challenging to find open datasets in the context of computing
education. Consequently, researchers may have to reinvent the wheel and gather data from scratch by themselves. Although open data strategies and guidelines have been promoted for years by big funding organizations
in the U.S. and Europe, computing education researchers still struggle with finding and reusing data.

This working group aims to identify available datasets within the context of computing education research. One particular area of interest is programming education, and the data in question may include students’ steps, progress, or submissions in the form of program code. To achieve this goal, the working group will review well-known data resources and repositories (e.g., DataShop, GitHub, NSF Public Access Repository, and IEEE DataPort) and recent papers published within the SIGCSE community. As a result of the review process, the working group will create an overview of available datasets and characterize them while reflecting on current data practices, challenges, and the consequences of limited access to research data.

Moreover, the group intends to propose a path for the community to become more open and move toward open data practices. Such a proposal will be based on a survey within the computing education researcher community focusing on current data practices, research data formats, barriers, and other concerns. The overarching goal is thus to support researchers within the community who want to publish research data and those who need data as a basis for their (secondary) research. We believe that sharing research data can help make our community stronger
and more productive.