How Do Computer Science Students Use Distributed Version Control Systems?

Michael Cochez, Ville Isomöttönen, Ville Tirronen, Jonne Itkonen

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The inclusion of version control systems into computing curricula enables educators to promote competences needed in real-life situations. The use of a version control system also has several potential benefits for the teacher. The teacher might, for instance, use the tool to monitor students' progress and to give feedback efficiently. This study analyzes how students used the distributed version control system Git in several computing courses. We analyzed students' commit log data in two advanced programming courses, a second-year introductory software engineering course, and two courses where students developed software products. This enables us to compare Git usage between introductory level and master's level students, and between exercise-driven and product-driven courses. We found out that students which are using the version control system in a software product development setting used it in a more graceful manner. The students which were further given introduction to branching in the system also used this to not have to wait until the practical session to commit their changes. We also found the amount of garbage in the repositories is strongly relayed to the students' awareness of the version control process and the need of keeping the workspace clean.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation and Communication Technologies in Education, Research, and Industrial Applications - 9th International Conference, ICTERI 2013, Revised Selected Papers
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Pages210-228
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783319039978
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event9th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies in Education, Research, and Industrial Applications, ICTERI 2013 - Kherson, Ukraine
Duration: 19 Jun 201322 Jun 2013

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
Volume412 CCIS
ISSN (Print)1865-0929

Conference

Conference9th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies in Education, Research, and Industrial Applications, ICTERI 2013
CountryUkraine
CityKherson
Period19/06/1322/06/13

Keywords

  • Git
  • Programming Education
  • Version Control System

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