As a kid, Harrison spent his free time filming movies with his younger brothers and designing Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions that would never get built. When he discovered programming in year 8 it was a major light-switch moment: the realisation that it’s possible to engage the two (previously separate) parts of the brain at the same time.
Harrison’s current research project with the c/c/c studio is about building tools to support novice programmers as they take their first steps in learning p5.js. From the abstract of his report:
Novice programmers spend a lot of time resolving errors. While this time spent practicing is important for developing these new skills, being stuck on the same problem for too long can lead to frustration and other negative outcomes. But what types of errors do they encounter most frequently, and which ones are the most challenging to overcome? This paper describes the design and implementation of a tool for collecting empirical data on the errors encountered by novice p5.js programmers. This tool is designed to capture fine-grained data about the current program state and the subjective experience of the error by the novice programmer, while minimising the extra cognitive load of such error reporting. The data collected by this tool will be used to better undrestand the error profile of novice p5.js programmers and to design future interventions, for example improved error messages, automated assistants and changes to the curriculum.
Outside of programming Harrison spends his time rock climbing, listening to music, reading, and attempting to trail run (when he’s not injured).