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System Dot: Shifting the Programming Paradigm

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Programming is quickly becoming as ubiquitous a tool as general mathematics. The technology field is progressing at an exponential rate and driving this constantly evolving field forward requires competent software developers. Elementary and high school educational facilities do not currently

Programming is quickly becoming as ubiquitous a tool as general mathematics. The technology field is progressing at an exponential rate and driving this constantly evolving field forward requires competent software developers. Elementary and high school educational facilities do not currently express the importance of the computer science field. Computer science is not a required course in high school and nearly impossible to find at a middle school level. This lack of exposure to the field at a young age handicaps aspiring developers by not providing them with a foundation to build on when seeking a degree. This paper revolves around the development of a virtual world that encompasses principles of programming in a video game structure. The use of a virtual world-based game was chosen under the hypothesis that embedding programming instruction into a game through problem-based learning is more likely to engage young students than more traditional forms of instruction. Unlike the traditional method of instruction, a virtual world allows us to "deceive" the player into learning concepts by implicitly educating them through fun gameplay mechanics. In order to make our video game robust and self-sufficient, we have developed a predictive recursive descent parser that will validate any user-generated solutions to pre-defined logical platforming puzzles. Programming topics taught with these problems range from binary numbers to while and for loops.

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2016-12

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Last Hymn

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Last Hymn was created by the team of Tyler Pinho, Jefferson Le, and Curtis Spence with the desire to create an eccentric Role Playing Game focused on the exploration of a strange, dying world. Battles in the game are based

Last Hymn was created by the team of Tyler Pinho, Jefferson Le, and Curtis Spence with the desire to create an eccentric Role Playing Game focused on the exploration of a strange, dying world. Battles in the game are based off of rhythm games like Dance Dance Revolution using a procedural generation algorithm that makes every encounter unique. This is then complemented with the path system where each enemy has unique rhythm patterns to give them different types of combat opportunities. In Last Hymn, the player arrives on a train at the World's End Train Station where they are greeted by a mysterious figure and guided to the Forest where they witness the end of the world and find themselves back at the train station before they left for the Forest. With only a limited amount of time per cycle of the world, the player must constantly weigh the opportunity cost of each decision, and only with careful thought, conviction, and tenacity will the player find a conclusion from the never ending cycle of rebirth. Blending both Shinto architecture and modern elements, Last Hymn used a "fantasy-chic" aesthetic in order to provide memorable locations and dissonant imagery. As the player explores they will struggle against puzzles and dynamic, rhythm based combat while trying to unravel the mystery of the world's looping time. Last Hymn was designed to develop innovative and dynamic new solutions for combat, exploration, and mapping. From this project all three team members were able to grow their software development and game design skills, achieving goals like improved level design, improved asset pipelines while simultaneously aiming to craft an experience that will be unforgettable for players everywhere.

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2016-12

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Bridging cyber and physical programming classes: an application of semantic visual analytics for programming exams

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With the advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) educators have the opportunity to collect data from students and use it to derive insightful information about the students. Specifically, for programming based courses the ability to identify the specific areas

With the advent of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) educators have the opportunity to collect data from students and use it to derive insightful information about the students. Specifically, for programming based courses the ability to identify the specific areas or topics that need more attention from the students can be of immense help. But the majority of traditional, non-virtual classes lack the ability to uncover such information that can serve as a feedback to the effectiveness of teaching. In majority of the schools paper exams and assignments provide the only form of assessment to measure the success of the students in achieving the course objectives. The overall grade obtained in paper exams and assignments need not present a complete picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses. In part, this can be addressed by incorporating research-based technology into the classrooms to obtain real-time updates on students' progress. But introducing technology to provide real-time, class-wide engagement involves a considerable investment both academically and financially. This prevents the adoption of such technology thereby preventing the ideal, technology-enabled classrooms. With increasing class sizes, it is becoming impossible for teachers to keep a persistent track of their students progress and to provide personalized feedback. What if we can we provide technology support without adding more burden to the existing pedagogical approach? How can we enable semantic enrichment of exams that can translate to students' understanding of the topics taught in the class? Can we provide feedback to students that goes beyond only numbers and reveal areas that need their focus. In this research I focus on bringing the capability of conducting insightful analysis to paper exams with a less intrusive learning analytics approach that taps into the generic classrooms with minimum technology introduction. Specifically, the work focuses on automatic indexing of programming exam questions with ontological semantics. The thesis also focuses on designing and evaluating a novel semantic visual analytics suite for in-depth course monitoring. By visualizing the semantic information to illustrate the areas that need a student’s focus and enable teachers to visualize class level progress, the system provides a richer feedback to both sides for improvement.

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Date Created
2016

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Web-Based Programming Grading Assistant: An Investigation of the Role of Students Reviewing Behavior

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Paper assessment remains to be an essential formal assessment method in today's classes. However, it is difficult to track student learning behavior on physical papers. This thesis presents a new educational technology—Web Programming Grading Assistant (WPGA). WPGA not only serves

Paper assessment remains to be an essential formal assessment method in today's classes. However, it is difficult to track student learning behavior on physical papers. This thesis presents a new educational technology—Web Programming Grading Assistant (WPGA). WPGA not only serves as a grading system but also a feedback delivery tool that connects paper-based assessments to digital space. I designed a classroom study and collected data from ASU computer science classes. I tracked and modeled students' reviewing and reflecting behaviors based on the use of WPGA. I analyzed students' reviewing efforts, in terms of frequency, timing, and the associations with their academic performances. Results showed that students put extra emphasis in reviewing prior to the exams and the efforts demonstrated the desire to review formal assessments regardless of if they were graded for academic performance or for attendance. In addition, all students paid more attention on reviewing quizzes and exams toward the end of semester.

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2017