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Graph Search as a Feature in Imperative/Procedural Programming Languages

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Graph theory is a critical component of computer science and software engineering, with algorithms concerning graph traversal and comprehension powering much of the largest problems in both industry and research. Engineers and researchers often have an accurate view of their

Graph theory is a critical component of computer science and software engineering, with algorithms concerning graph traversal and comprehension powering much of the largest problems in both industry and research. Engineers and researchers often have an accurate view of their target graph, however they struggle to implement a correct, and efficient, search over that graph.

To facilitate rapid, correct, efficient, and intuitive development of graph based solutions we propose a new programming language construct - the search statement. Given a supra-root node, a procedure which determines the children of a given parent node, and optional definitions of the fail-fast acceptance or rejection of a solution, the search statement can conduct a search over any graph or network. Structurally, this statement is modelled after the common switch statement and is put into a largely imperative/procedural context to allow for immediate and intuitive development by most programmers. The Go programming language has been used as a foundation and proof-of-concept of the search statement. A Go compiler is provided which implements this construct.

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2018

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Content Agnostic Game Based Stealth Assessment

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Serious or educational games have been a subject of research for a long time. They usually have game mechanics, game content, and content assessment all tied together to make a specialized game intended to impart learning of the associated content

Serious or educational games have been a subject of research for a long time. They usually have game mechanics, game content, and content assessment all tied together to make a specialized game intended to impart learning of the associated content to its players. While this approach is good for developing games for teaching highly specific topics, it consumes a lot of time and money. Being able to re-use the same mechanics and assessment for creating games that teach different contents would lead to a lot of savings in terms of time and money. The Content Agnostic Game Engineering (CAGE) Architecture mitigates the problem by disengaging the content from game mechanics. Moreover, the content assessment in games is often quite explicit in the way that it disturbs the flow of the players and thus hampers the learning process, as it is not integrated into the game flow. Stealth assessment helps to alleviate this problem by keeping the player engagement intact while assessing them at the same time. Integrating stealth assessment into the CAGE framework in a content-agnostic way will increase its usability and further decrease in game and assessment development time and cost. This research presents an evaluation of the learning outcomes in content-agnostic game-based assessment developed using the CAGE framework.

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Date Created
2021

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A Neural Network Model for a Tutoring Companion Supporting Students in a Programming with Java Course

Description

Feedback represents a vital component of the learning process and is especially important for Computer Science students. With class sizes that are often large, it can be challenging to provide individualized feedback to students. Consistent, constructive, supportive feedback through a

Feedback represents a vital component of the learning process and is especially important for Computer Science students. With class sizes that are often large, it can be challenging to provide individualized feedback to students. Consistent, constructive, supportive feedback through a tutoring companion can scaffold the learning process for students.

This work contributes to the construction of a tutoring companion designed to provide this feedback to students. It aims to bridge the gap between the messages the compiler delivers, and the support required for a novice student to understand the problem and fix their code. Particularly, it provides support for students learning about recursion in a beginning university Java programming course. Besides also providing affective support, a tutoring companion could be more effective when it is embedded into the environment that the student is already using, instead of an additional tool for the student to learn. The proposed Tutoring Companion is embedded into the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

This thesis focuses on the reasoning model for the Tutoring Companion and is developed using the techniques of a neural network. While a student uses the IDE, the Tutoring Companion collects 16 data points, including the presence of certain key words, cyclomatic complexity, and error messages from the compiler, every time it detects an event, such as a run attempt, debug attempt, or a request for help, in the IDE. This data is used as inputs to the neural network. The neural network produces a correlating single output code for the feedback to be provided to the student, which is displayed in the IDE.

The effectiveness of the approach is examined among 38 Computer Science students who solve a programming assignment while the Tutoring Companion assists them. Data is collected from these interactions, including all inputs and outputs for the neural network, and students are surveyed regarding their experience. Results suggest that students feel supported while working with the Companion and promising potential for using a neural network with an embedded companion in the future. Challenges in developing an embedded companion are discussed, as well as opportunities for future work.

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Date Created
2019

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SwiftUI vs UIKit: A Case Study on How a Declarative Framework Can Improve Learnability of UI Programming

Description

User interface development on iOS is in a major transitionary state as Apple introduces a declarative and interactive framework called SwiftUI. SwiftUI’s success depends on how well it integrates its new tooling for novice developers. This paper will demonstrate and

User interface development on iOS is in a major transitionary state as Apple introduces a declarative and interactive framework called SwiftUI. SwiftUI’s success depends on how well it integrates its new tooling for novice developers. This paper will demonstrate and discuss where SwiftUI succeeds and fails at carving a new path for user interface development for new developers. This is done by comparisons against its existing imperative UI framework UIKit as well as elaborating on the background of SwiftUI and examples of how SwiftUI works to help developers. The paper will also discuss what exactly led to SwiftUI and how it is currently faring on Apple's latest operating systems. SwiftUI is a framework growing and evolving to serve the needs of 5 very different platforms with code that claims to be simpler to write and easier to deploy. The world of UI programming in iOS has been dominated by a Storyboard canvas for years, but SwiftUI claims to link this graphic-first development process with the code programmers are used to by keeping them side by side in constant sync. This bold move requires interactive programming capable of recompilation on the fly. As this paper will discuss, SwiftUI has garnered a community of developers giving it the main property it needs to succeed: a component library.

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2021-12