Computer Science

2004


Basic and Applied Sciences
Seo Suk Jai
sseo@mtsu.edu

ON-LINE TUTORING SYSTEM FOR COMPUTER SCIENCE I STUDENTS

Developed an on-line tutoring system for Computer Science I (CS-I), an introductory computer science course, offered by the Computer Science Department at Middle Tennessee State University.

The current laboratory manual for Computer Science I (CS-I) at MTSU contains a set of pre-written exercises selected for a typical CS-I student. A lab instructor works with a class of 30 students in a closed lab setting in which students solve problems by following the instructions in the on-line manual. A typical CS-I class consists of a wide range of students in their academic backgrounds. Some students have prior programming experience and much knowledge about computers whereas other students are not familiar with the computing environment at all. The existing labs are problematic because of their static nature in the sense that every student works on the same set of exercises in the same order. Therefore, advanced students can get bored easily because of the lack of challenge while some students are struggling to understand the basic concepts introduced in the lab and sometimes get completely lost. The goal of this project is to develop an on-line tutoring system that dynamically adapts to the needs of each student to provide personalized assistance to an individual student.

With the above goal in mind, we have designed the question tutor to help a student learn a concept by solving a series of questions that are dynamically chosen by the system. When a student initiates the tutor for a specific concept, the tutor presents a sequence of questions that are related to the concept. Each time the student submits an answer to a chosen question, the system responds with a correct solution along with a brief explanation. In addition, the question tutor monitors a student's performance so that the tutoring session can be adapted to each student's current understanding. After grading the student's answer, the system chooses and present 


1999


Interactive Web Units for CSCI 115

Basic and Applied Sciences
Chirsilla Pettey
cscbp@mtsu.edu

Pettey will be working in conjunction with Thomas Cheatham to develop interactive web-based laboratory exercises for the computer concepts, email and Internet portions of CSCI 115. Interactive web-based testing units for all computer concepts will also be developed in addition to a grading and recording component for each unit. CSCI 115 is a required or recommended computer course for Aerospace, Agriculture, Chemistry, Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies, Physics, Human Sciences, and Recording Industry.

The ultimate goal of this project is to make the knowledge units covered in Computer Orientation, CSCI 115, available as interactive web documents. Then students who have knowledge or hands-on experience in a particular area can easily prove that they have sufficient mastery of the topic to move on to the next unit saving time for the student and avoiding frustration for both faculty and students. At the same time, students who need more drill and practice will have a "patient" partner who will provide numerous laboratory exercises and as many practice exams as desired.

Providing interactive web-based laboratories requires a server running Microsoft NT, laboratory exercises for the computer concepts, testing units for all the concepts, a grading and recording component for each unit which will allow the student to repeat a quiz (randomly selected questions from a question bank), and a database of questions for each topic. We currently have purchased the server, installed all necessary software, tested, and brought the server online.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"></span>In addition, the testbank of questions for each unit is completed. A Microsoft Access database has been constructed containing hundreds of questions of all types including: Multiple Choice, True and False, Fill in the blank, Matching and Short Answer. An Active Server Page (ASP) interface is being built to allow the student and the faculty member to interface with the database over the web. Most of the laboratory exercises are completed or are nearly completed. Work on the CGI system for parsing HTML pages, parsing testing units, and for grading interactive exams is continuing. We hope to begin class testing the system in the summer of 2000.

 

Interactive Web Units for CSCI 115

Basic and Applied Sciences
Thomas J. Cheatham
cheatham@mtsu.edu

Cheatham will be working in conjunction with Chrisila Petty to develop interactive web-based laboratory exercises for the computer concepts, email and Internet portions of CSCI 115. Interactive web-based testing units for all computer concepts will also be developed in addition to a grading and recording component for each unit. CSCI 115 is a required or recommended computer course for Aerospace, Agriculture, Chemistry, Engineering Technology and Industrial Studies, Physics, Human Sciences, and Recording Industry.

The ultimate goal of this project is to make the knowledge units covered in Computer Orientation, CSCI 115, available as interactive web documents. Then students who have knowledge or hands-on experience in a particular area can easily prove that they have sufficient mastery of the topic to move on to the next unit saving time for the student and avoiding frustration for both faculty and students. At the same time, students who need more drill and practice will have a "patient" partner who will provide numerous laboratory exercises and as many practice exams as desired.

Providing interactive web-based laboratories requires a server running Microsoft NT, laboratory exercises for the computer concepts, testing units for all the concepts, a grading and recording component for each unit which will allow the student to repeat a quiz (randomly selected questions from a question bank), and a database of questions for each topic. We currently have purchased the server, installed all necessary software, tested, and brought the server online. In addition, the testbank of questions for each unit is completed. A Microsoft Access database has been constructed containing hundreds of questions of all types including: Multiple Choice, True and False, Fill in the blank, Matching and Short Answer.

An Active Server Page (ASP) interface is being built to allow the student and the faculty member to interface with the database over the web. Most of the laboratory exercises are completed or are nearly completed. Work on the CGI system for parsing HTML pages, parsing testing units, and for grading interactive exams is continuing. We hope to begin class testing the system in the summer of 2000


1997


A Web-Based Toolkit for Creating On-line Course Materials

Basic and Applied Sciences
Nancy J. Wahl
wahl@mtsu.edu

Created World Wide Web based tools to help MTSU faculty develop on-line course packages. The toolkit helps faculty create a course home page, syllabus, announcements, outline of lectures, sample tests or quizzes and solutions, and other course materials.

I received an Instructional Technologies Development Grant during the Spring 1997 semester entitled A Web-Based Toolkit for Creating On-line Course Materials. During the semester I worked with a computer science graduate student to create a package that would allow faculty to create Web pages for courses using forms only. We created some simple tools to generate Web pages. We ran into what seemed like a major problem. The problem was that we could not write the created pages to the faculty person's directory. I had hoped to be able to save files in each faculty person's account so that they would have control over the pages that our tool created. I decided to look at tools already created for this purpose to see how other people had solved this problem. Clay Harris told me about a package at Virginia Commonwealth University so I looked at it. We downloaded this program and installed in on Ritchie, a Hewlett Packard workstation in KOM 3 5 1. We tried to get the program installed on frank but there is something wrong with the Perl libraries on frank and OIT could not get the program installed correctly. The name of the program is Web - Course - In - A - Box (WCB). It is a great program. The creators of WCB had the same problem that I had in that they could not save Web pages to faculty accounts. They save all files under WCB directories. This means that the faculty person can change WCB pages only through the forms provided for this purpose. This is a limitation of the package. On the whole, WCB is an excellent package, It allows faculty to create a syllabus page, schedule page, Web-based bulletin board, a personal home page, and activities page by simply filling in forms. The faculty person can set up accounts for students and send them all email at once. It allows the faculty person to pick the background and font colors as well as icons for their home page. WCB is still being improved and does have some bugs. It is not totally forgiving of errors that the administrator or faculty person makes. I have given two hands-on workshops about WCB. Both of the workshops were in April. I will give another hands-on workshop in July at the 1997 MTSU Faculty Instructional Technology Institute. I wrote an introductory hand-out and put it on the MRSU Home Page under MTSU Web Help/Web tools. I would like to thank the committee for providing me with release time to work on this project. I think that many faculty will benefit from WCB. I believe that about 40 people attended my workshops to date.