Syntax circuitry: A mobile game for practicing programming language syntax

W. A. Shellington, T. O. Humphries, R. Morsi, Mona A.E. Rizvi

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

1 Citation (Scopus)


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics [1], computer science professions are among the fastest growing occupations in the U.S., and computer science occupations will add more than half a million new jobs in the next ten years. Simultaneously, universities in the U.S. and worldwide are seeing poor retention rates in computer science, with a major reason being that students often view the early courses in the subject as uninteresting and dull [2]. We have developed a mobile game that provides an engaging way for students to practice the basic syntax of C, C++ and Java. Learning programming language syntax is a tedious process. Practicing by actually programming is, of course, ideal, but we believe that a game which is fun for students to play in their spare time will help them get used to distinguishing correct syntactical constructs quickly. The initial version of the game was evaluated by a small population of first-year computer science students at Norfolk State University. The results showed that students enjoyed the game, and that a modest improvement in the students' abilities to identify correct and incorrect syntax was achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationLaunching a New Vision in Engineering Education, FIE 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479984534
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2 2015
Event2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015 - El Paso, United States
Duration: Oct 21 2015Oct 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015
CountryUnited States
CityEl Paso


  • computer science education
  • mobile computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

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