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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  3. Early programming courses, such as CS1, are an important time to capture the interest of the students while imparting important technical knowledge. Yet many CS1 sections use contrived assignments and activities that tend to make students uninterested and doubt the usefulness of the content. We demonstrate that one can make an interesting CS1 experience for students by coupling interesting datasets with visual representations and interactive applications. Our approach enables teaching an engaging early programming course without changing the content of that course. This approach relies on the BRIDGES system that has been under development for the past 5 years; BRIDGESmore »provides easy access to datasets and interactive applications. The assignments we present are all scaffolded to be directly integrated into most early programming courses to make routine topics more compelling and exciting.« less
  4. Computer Science students in algorithm courses often drop out and feel that what they are learning is disconnected from real life programming. Instructors, on the other hand, feel that algorithmic content is foundational for the long term development of students. The disconnect seems to stem from students not perceiving the importance of algorithmic paradigms, and how they impact performance in applications. We present the point of view that by solving real-world problems where algorithmic paradigms and complexity matter, students will become more engaged with the course and appreciate its importance. Our approach relies on a lean educational framework that providesmore »simplified access to real life datasets and benchmarking features. The assignments we present are all scaffolded, and easily integrated into most algorithms courses. Feedback from using some of the assignments in various courses is presented to argue for the validity of the approach.« less
  5. We present a course design model for applying project-based learning to an online undergraduate object oriented systems course. In our model, projects and reflection are central to the curriculum. Our model challenges students through modularized, repetitive project cycles beginning with analysis and design (i.e. using pseudo- code, flowcharts, diagrams) then coding, debugging, testing, and finally, reflection. We analyzed student reflection responses from two semesters to extract major themes and sub-themes, then mapped these to the MUSIC model (eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, Caring) to understand our model's influence on student engagement and motivation. We found that a rhythmic project cycle encouragesmore »self-regulation in online students to formulate project plans, track their progress, and evaluate their solutions. Online students feel empowered when course projects promote choice, flexibility, creativity, experimentation, and extensions to other applications. Online student success is dependent on the clarity of instructions, course scaffolding, level of challenge, instructor feedback, and opportunities to reflect on personal failure, success, and challenge. Online students are interested in projects that are familiar, real-world, and fun, but expect to be situated in team-based environments. Students appreciate instructors who are caring and accommodating to personal needs. We recommend six salient strategies for improving online course and project design: design a visible, rhythmic structure; set transparent expectations and instructions; encourage design before implementation; connect to real-world applications and tools; experience happy challenges; infuse sustained reflection.« less
  6. This workshop provides instructors with a hands-on introduction to BRIDGES, a software infrastructure for programming assignments in early computer science courses, including introductory programming (CS1, CS2), data structures, and algorithm analysis. BRIDGES provides capabilities for creating more engaging programming assignments, including: (1) a simplified API for accessing real-world data sets, including from social networks; scientific, government, and civic organizations; and movie, music, and literature collections; (2) interesting visualizations of the data, (3) an easy to use API that supports creation of games that leverage real-world data, and, (4) algorithm benchmarking. Workshop attendees will engage in hands-on experience with BRIDGES withmore »multiple datasets and will have the opportunity to discuss how BRIDGES can be used in their own courses.« less
  7. In recent years, interactive textbooks have gained prominence in an effort to overcome student reluctance to routinely read textbooks, complete assigned homeworks, and to better engage students to keep up with lecture content. Interactive textbooks are more structured, contain smaller amounts of textual material, and integrate media and assessment content. While these are an arguable improvement over traditional methods of teaching, issues of academic integrity and engagement remain. In this work we demonstrate preliminary work on building interactive teaching modules for data structures and algorithms courses with the following characteristics, (1) the modules are highly visual and interactive, (2) trainingmore »and assessment are tightly integrated within the same module, with sufficient variability in the exercises to make it next to impossible to violate academic integrity, (3) a data logging and analytic system that provides instantaneous student feedback and assessment, and (4) an interactive visual analytic system for the instructor to see students’ performance at the individual, sub-group or class level, allowing timely intervention and support for selected students. Our modules are designed to work within the infrastructure of the OpenDSA system, which will promote rapid dissemination to an existing user base of CS educators. We demonstrate a prototype system using an example dataset.« less