Honors College Theses




Computer Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Daniel Liang


Teaching and learning programming effectively is a struggle for both teachers and students. Many students struggle to read and understand code when they are first learning to code. To help with this problem of struggling students, Code Animation was developed. Code Animation is a visual tool to trace the execution of a program. Code Animation goes through code line by line giving the user annotations and other visualizations in an attempt to better explain code to a student than if the student were to simply read the code on their own or if they were to attempt to follow along with an instructor going over it. Code Animation allows for students to go at their own pace which helps prevent students from getting lost while looking at code leading them to not understanding the rest of code or the entire program all together.

Since the effectiveness of Code Animation is untested, we will determine if Code Animation is an effective tool or not for teaching students how to understand code. Students will be tested on their understanding of recursion, which is a common and important programming technique that many students struggle with. Before being tested on recursion, one group of students will be shown a Code Animation explanation of a recursive program written in Java while the other group will not be shown a Code Animation explanation. We will determine if Code Animations appears to have an impact on the performance of students on the test.

Thesis Summary

This paper discusses the effectiveness of using code animations in teaching recursion to college students who are new to programming

Available for download on Tuesday, March 31, 2026