Francesca's Page

About Me

Name: Francesca Loiodice
Email: fl2508 (at)
Office: Computer Science Department at Columbia University
Home Institution: Barnard College
Project: Intellectual Humility in Computer Science Students

About My Project

This summer, I will be researching with Professor Daniel Bauer, Professor Janet Metcalfe, and PHD student Lisa Pegram. Our research will be at the intersection of computer science education and cognitive psychology. We will be studying intellectual humility, a way of thinking where students are critical of gaps in their knowledge and curious about learning from their mistakes. This project seeks to understand how intellectual humility can be induced to improve the learning experience of computer science students.

The purpose of this research is to understand how we can foster intellectual humility in computer science students in order to improve their learning experience. Anecdotal evidence shows that students who are not intellectually humble inhibit their own learning, even if they have prior experience. We hope that by collecting data on intellectual humility, we can learn about the different subgroups of learners in computer science courses and understand their needs.

Research Log

Week 1

This week I met with my mentor and fellow researchers to learn about any changes in the research I will be conducting this summer. I completed a Human Subject Research course since I will be working with surveys and private information this summer.

Week 2

This week I reviewed the survey that will be administered to computer science student to collect data on their prior experience and confidence with computer science. Additionally, I began working on a literature review and compiling papers that my research group can reference.

Week 3

This week I continued the literature review and read papers from researchers who created automatic tools to assess computer science student's code. From the papers, I began compiling a list of metrics that my research team could potentially use to assess the style of student's code. I also researched static analysis tools that already exist for Java and learned about their functionality. We hope to adapt open source tools to automatically assess for the style metrics that we decide on.

Week 4

During this week, I researched static analysis tools for java and the various style metrics that they measure. We hope to implement these static analysis tools when evaluating student code in order to understand if an intervention in intellectual humility had any impact on performance.

Week 5

This week I tested the static analysis tools I previously researched with my own personal assignments from Data Structures, a course whose students will be take part of the research in intellectual humility.

Week 6

For this week, I continued to compile and test different features of the following static analysis tools, PMD and Checkstyle. These tools are relatively easy to run on java assignments using simple terminal commands.

Week 7

This week I compiled different features of elegant code into categories so that a score can be deduced from the errors the static analysis tools catch. The 28 features offered by checkstyle that were relevant to our project and measuring code elegance were divided into the following categories: formatting, spacing, nesting, naming, order, and complexity.

Week 8

This week I worked on creating a program that reads the output of checkstyle and categorizes the different errors. Everytime an error is outputed, we increment the count of a category in order to measure code elegance. High scores indicate high error counts and low elegance.

Week 9

This week I worked on my final technical paper and presentations, which are both due Friday July 24th.

References & Links

Here are the papers I have read for my project:
  1. Human vs. Automated Coding Style Grading in Computing Education , Perretta et. al. - EECS.
  2. ACES: Automatic Evaluation of Coding Style, Rogers et. al - EECS.
Here are my mentor's websites, and the REU website: