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Online Python Tutor: Embeddable Web-Based Program Visualization for CS Education

Abstract

This paper presents Online Python Tutor, a web-based program visualization tool for Python, which is becoming a popular language for teaching introductory CS courses. Using this tool, teachers and students can write Python programs directly in the web browser (without installing any plugins), step forwards and backwards through execution to view the run-time state of data structures, and share their program visualizations on the web.

In the past three years, over 200,000 people have used Online Python Tutor to visualize their programs. In addition, instructors in a dozen universities such as UC Berkeley, MIT, the University of Washington, and the University of Waterloo have used it in their CS1 courses. Finally, Online Python Tutor visualizations have been embedded within three web-based digital Python textbook projects, which collectively attract around 16,000 viewers per month and are being used in at least 25 universities. Online Python Tutor is free and open source software, available at pythontutor.com