Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


College of Engineering


Theresa Migler

Advisor Department

Computer Science

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Debugging is a significant part of programming. However, a lot of introductory pro- gramming classes tend to focus on writing and reading code than on debugging. They utilize programming assignments that are designed in ways such that students learn debugging by completing these assignments which makes debugging more of an im- plicit goal. In this thesis, we propose a cognitive awareness scaffolding in debugging to help students self-regulate their debugging process. We validate its effectiveness by conducting experiments with students in four sections of a Data Structures course, which is one of the introductory computer science classes at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. In this form, students identified the debugging stage, described the bugs in their own words, and tracked their attempts to fix them. The exit survey responses that students filled out at the end of the quarter indi- cate that students seemed to find the debugging form helpful with self-regulation in debugging process. For further investigation, we attempt to measure students’ under- standing of the bugs explained on the form. Additionally, we also discuss potential improvements for the debugging form.